Yeah, I think that people are going to one day wish that we were back in the days when commercials were separate pieces from the actual TV shows.
Here's the simple issue: networks get their money primarily from what companies are willing to pay for commercial time. So, let's say consumers have a simple way to skip all commercials and decide to do so. One of a couple of things will happen: the networks will get their funds in some other manner, one of which is what gets charged to providers. Or they will find ways to put commercials in shows in ways we can't skip over. Product placement already occurs, but I would predict what would be more prevalent would be commercials running over the show as the show is playing. We already have the irritating ads for other TV shows running across the bottom of shows; imagine animated ads for peanut butter and pepsi and insurance running over the bottom of every show's episodes.
We won't get away from commercials, so be careful what you wish for. Eliminate what we have today, and it will be replaced with something pretty intrusive.
I think if advertisers understood how few of the ads are actually watched by anyone they'd insist on the method you talk about above. I mean lets face it Since the beginning of TV when a commercial came on unless it was particularly entertaining it was time to get up and get snack, use the bathroom, talk to other people in the room, etc until the show came back on. Then with the invention of the remote, commercial comes on, check out what's on other channels joined the above commercial avoiding activities. Then we get the VCR and one more way to skip commercials. DVR's and autohop are just the latest version of this, nothing revolutionary there. It's to the point where the only people watching commercials are those too feeble get up and move from in front of the tv or push a remote button. Some advertisers are starting to understand this, I mean it seems there's a lot of commercials these days aimed at older people. Of course it seems that broadcast tv does its best to try to convince advertisers they provide a valuable tool for reaching customers, I mean look how they keep trying to perpetuate the myth that the 18 to 49 age group matters the most to potential advertisers. I mean come on lets get real, the younger people are exactly the age group that's least likely to see any ads due to the way they choose to watch their shows, weather it's using technology like DVR's, streaming via the internet or ordering via Netflix. In any case what CBS did here just made them look like the bad guy and gave free promotion to the Hopper so it was rather the epic fail on their part.