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30 skip acting up


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131 replies to this topic

#51 OFFLINE   DallasFlier

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 12:01 PM

They can shove as many ads down my throat as they like but at the end of the day just because I watch a commercial for a product that doesn't mean that I am going to actually buy that product. I go out of my way not to buy some products because the commercials get on my nerves.


So... You're saying that advertisers can't count on 100% of ad viewers buying the advertised product??? And some commercials are more effective than others???

And in other earthshaking news, the sun came up this morning... ;)

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#52 OFFLINE   Kojo62

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 01:44 PM

I've noticed the same thing recently. It only happens on one specific commercial, an ad for an LGBT organization. I've seen this same commercial on multiple broadcasts, and it always acts the same. But I haven't noticed it on any other commercials so far.

I did some testing and it only affects the 30SKIP function. I can still zip past it manually with FF presses, or when I reset to 30SLIP. But on 30SKIP, it automatically locks back into standard play mode the instant it hits the beginning of the ad, and I am prevented from skipping forward until the ad ends. (Sneaky... even on FF, you're forced to watch their imagery even to determine when it's over.)

I came here just to post on if this was a designed new DVR behavior that DirecTV was selling to advertisers, so I guess this thread answers my question... sort of. But even if they claim it was not intentional, they clearly now have the capability to sell such a service if they want to.

#53 OFFLINE   bpratt

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 03:00 PM

I reported my problem with this skip in this thread a week or so ago:

"I do a 1 hour manual record Monday thru Thursday each week at 11:00 pm on Comedy Central to record Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. Since the 4d2 level was sent, I get the skip problem every day on this recording at 17,18 or 19 minutes into the show."

I just wanted to report that this problem also fails every day on the 575 level of software. It fails on different commercials, but always 17 to 19 minutes into the recording.

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#54 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 03:01 PM

That's probably the time frame designated for local insertions.
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#55 OFFLINE   djrobx

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:32 PM

Definitely seeing this issue with DirecTV commercials. Skip, skip, skip... stuck on a DirecTV comercial. Happened 3 times today. Glad to hear it's bug not a feature.

#56 OFFLINE   joerockt

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 04:51 PM

Definitely seeing this issue with DirecTV commercials. Skip, skip, skip... stuck on a DirecTV comercial. Happened 3 times today. Glad to hear it's bug not a feature.


Same here. Ridiculous this has been going on for a whole month.

#57 OFFLINE   Jon J

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:45 AM

Wonder if this bug has anything to do with the Channel 8888 and 8887 recordings I have been seeing in the To Do list?
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#58 OFFLINE   levytv

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 01:09 AM

its directv's way of attempting to force us to watch their spots. fast forward still works. this 'encoding' is happening more and more.

#59 OFFLINE   bengalfreak

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 05:19 AM

I haven't seen this issue at all.

#60 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:13 AM

its directv's way of attempting to force us to watch their spots. fast forward still works. this 'encoding' is happening more and more.

Has nothing to do with it.
If it was the case 30SLIP & FF wouldn't work, but they do.

It's merely that the change wasn't tested with 30skip as 30skip isn't a supported feature. This should get "fixed", but when isn't known yet.

I ran into it a couple of times last night and FF works fine to get past it. I'd almost forgotten about this as I haven't run into it for weeks.
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#61 OFFLINE   JonW

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:24 PM

Most likely they forgot to disable the feature on 30skip because it's an unsupported feature... but I wouldn't ignore the fact the capability is there, and the only question is when and where they use it.

For instance, with FIOS VOD, the programs cannot be recorded to your HD. You have to watch it as it's streaming. At best you can FF at 2x speed, but even this can be disabled.

As much as we may hate commercials, free TV is not free. As long as the primary source of funding for shows are commercial breaks, they're going to try to figure out ways to get us to watch them.

#62 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:27 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if this is a consequence of local ad insertion technology. If you think how 30 sec skip must work, it makes sense...

To jump 30 seconds forward, the software has to calculate the offset in the digital file that represents 30 seconds later. If the stream is redirected in to a different file, the offset becomes invalid and the playback drops back to the stream. This is why slip and fast forward still work, they follow the stream, not file offsets.

To fix this, they will have to look ahead on each skip and see if there is a local ad insertion coming, and recalculate offsets going in and coming back to the main file.

It might make more sense to think about how skip and slip actually do work.

The statement "If the stream is redirected in to a different file, the offset becomes invalid and the playback drops back to the stream." both makes no sense and sort of indicates one of two things:


1) you have no real idea how this works
2) you may have an idea, but don't have the wherewithall to explain it properly

But that's OK, you probably do not have the "luxury" of working with this all of the time as some of us do. The files are compressed MPEG program stream files. A few times every second or so there is metadata in the packet headers of the video elemental stream (which is one of many simultaneous streams in the PS) called a Presentation Time Stamp, which is analogous to the running timecode in analog video. Since video files can be accessed non-linearly, it needs to read this PST both to know where playback is, referenced from the beginning, in the file, and to play back the frames in order, especially since they are purposely sent out of order as part of compression efficiency and robustness.

The PST is reconstituted at record, meaning whatever it is coming in is replaced with a new clock on the recording that starts at 00:00:00:00 and continues unbroken until the end of the recording. And as you say, skip and slip use this PST to calculate where to FFWD or jump to.

But there is nothing that distinguishes where a commercial begins and a program segment ends; all of that is by now invisible. Broadcasters learned long ago that if they did put some identifying metadata into the stream that clever techies would find that data and use it to create a commercial-skipping algorithm, and for that reason they will probably never do that.

There is however metadata that can defeat FFWD; anyone who has ever played a store-bought DVD knows this well, and is why we are treated to a nice long FBI warning logo each time we insert a new DVD.

Slip and skip are also not very accurate; they are only approximate because they are only GOP-accurate, not frame-accurate. Find video with a running timer including seconds, and try to skip or slip through that; press the button ten times. Will that be exactly 3 minutes? Rarely, and only by accident. It will be different each time, and different for the same video for skip compared to slip.

This is because it would take too long to decode the frames that are 30 seconds away to find the PST; it is quicker to decode just the I-frames (which decode faster) and not all of them but every Xth one of them, which helps prevent skip and slip from having decoding latency and allows decoded video frames to represent slices of the video as it goes by for slip. The tradeoff is that it isn't exactly 30 seconds, its approximately the number of GOPs that would represent "about" 30 seconds.

While DTV and others may be using technology to thwart FFWD, it is not unusual for the DVR just to simply get confused about the PST should the file get corrupted, whereupon skip and slip, both dependent upon the ability to read PST, just fail to be able to do that at a particular corrupted part of the stream. Sometimes this throws the file back to the beginning (00:00) because it no longer can determine where it is and just defaults there.
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#63 OFFLINE   hhh222

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 09:56 AM

This just started happening with me the last few days.

#64 OFFLINE   Sim-X

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:39 AM

Have been noticing this as of late as well. It seems that if you skip fast enough it will still work but if the video starts playing and you go to hit skip again it will lock. Very annoying. I seem to notice the non-function skip button more on ads where the feed has changed. So not necessarily a directv commercial but a commercial that is in a different format then the channel. So like if you are watching say pawn stars on History in 720P and they insert SD commercial or maybe a HD commercial that was shot in a different format it seems to stop working on those commercials more than the channels own commercials for different shows or what not. Not 100% sure just that is what I have noticed, either way it's annoying. I usually zip through the skips pretty fast so as long as your quick enough it seems to not be an issue.

#65 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 01:25 AM

Yeah, this is also now just happening for me too, very recently. Never happened till recently, now occurring with enough frequency I notice it.

#66 OFFLINE   Zenara25

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 05:41 PM

My non tech savvy husband figured out a quick fix. When 30 second skip stops working, press the remote control button 'previous channel' 2 times. Then 30 second skip works again :)

Edited by Zenara25, 28 December 2011 - 12:57 PM.


#67 OFFLINE   dishrich

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:22 AM

SO glad for boards like this...finally figured out THIS was the reason why my 30 sec skip refused to work on commercials (ONLY) that DirecTV is doing during "local inserts" on Beavis & Butthead... :mad:
I guess the only way to fix this...is to switch to DISH - who DOES (only) support 30 sec skip (& not "slip") :rolleyes:

#68 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:34 AM

I believe that this issue will not be around much longer. Probably not worth switching to another provider.
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#69 OFFLINE   Steveknj

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 02:24 PM

My cynical side was thinking that DirecTV was testing this technology out for more broader used. It's already been 2 months and not fixed, so you do have to wonder.

Think about this, with 30 second SKIP you don't see ANY of the commercials, while using FF or 30 second SLIP you can STILL see the commercial, even if it's just high speed. So, for advertisers, it's not worth them inserting any type of software to kill that, but for the skip where you can't see their ad at all, it makes sense. So with that thought, I am still leaning toward this not being a bug but a feature, and they are hoping that either people will not care or that eventually if there is any clamor it will die down.

Also, the "fix" I have found is to hit stop and then play on the remote, it completely skips the inserted commercial and allows you to use skip again.

#70 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 02:56 PM

With due respect your cynical side may not really have the answer here. It's a fix that will require new software and we are in the middle of the HDUI rollout. It seems more likely that getting the HDUI right for everyone is a priority.
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#71 OFFLINE   BubblePuppy

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 03:01 PM

I haven't seen this issue at all.


Yea, I haven't had this issue at all with 30sec skip. I rarely watch live tv. When I do its always behind so I can skip through the commercials. So far I haven't found a commercial I couldn't skip past.
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#72 OFFLINE   Eddie501

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 04:24 PM

As much as we may hate commercials, free TV is not free. As long as the primary source of funding for shows are commercial breaks, they're going to try to figure out ways to get us to watch them.


DirecTV is free now?

#73 OFFLINE   markrogo

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 04:58 PM

Yea, I haven't had this issue at all with 30sec skip. I rarely watch live tv. When I do its always behind so I can skip through the commercials. So far I haven't found a commercial I couldn't skip past.


The fact you're not seeing it is more about the relative rarity of these hideous local insertion ads rather than some technological difference between your DVR and someone else's. It's not a common problem, it's just a freaking irritating one when it occurs. As Stuart says, it's also likely not one we'll be dealing with terribly much longer.

#74 OFFLINE   adam1115

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:36 PM

Wow, this is such crap!

I'm watching a show, as soon as a DirecTV cinema commercial comes on, 30 second skip stops working. Next commercial, DirecTV movers commercial, still can't skip. As soon as the directv ad is over, 30 second skip works again.

I'm supposed to believe that it's not intentional that DirecTV's own ads aren't skippable by coincidence?

#75 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:46 PM

Wow, this is such crap!

I'm watching a show, as soon as a DirecTV cinema commercial comes on, 30 second skip stops working. Next commercial, DirecTV movers commercial, still can't skip. As soon as the directv ad is over, 30 second skip works again.

I'm supposed to believe that it's not intentional that DirecTV's own ads aren't skippable by coincidence?

"only if" you want to understand the underlying reason this doesn't work.
The testing for what is causing this, has to do with being able to insert local ads [since if you have DirecTV, their ads are pointless]. This same testing wasn't done with the "unsupported" 30skip function. YOU HAD TO CHANGE to 30skip. Should this bother you, until this does get fixed, change over to 30slip, "the supported" option.
If DirecTV really gave a crap about wanting you to watch their ads, they would have not let you 30slip or FF through their ads.
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