Ok, so I'm watching Serinity that was DVRed back on 10/4/2011. All the commercials seem to be from that time, which is expected. However, I noticed a commercial that is for a Summer Special on PPV movies where you save $10 when purchasing 4 PPVs by July 7. All the movies mentioned were 2012 released.
How in the heck did this commercial get into a recording from 2011, months before these movies were even released to the theaters???
Yes, I did go back for a sanity check. The movies included Waderlust and Wrath of the Titans. They all had a 2012 copyright notice during the trailers.
Okay, bear with me here.... I have a theory. Not sure if this is correct, but this is what I think:
I know they have some sort of push system for local commercials....they have been testing with this for a while, and it might have gone live some time ago. Satellite carriers always had the disadvantage that they couldn't sell local advertisement to national cable channels.
On cable, it is not uncommon to see say..... a commercial for your local BBQ joint on a national channel like USA as they could insert it in the feed.
DirecTV came up with a solution for that. They have some reserved space on your DVR, I believe it is 100 Gb (with 400 Gb for recording), in which they load (via satellite, not via internet) or "push" commercials from time to time for a local commercial. So when a program plays, and it is time for a commercial, at the same time a cable station would see the commercial for the local BBQ joint, you would see it too as it was played from your hard drive where it was pushed at some point.
Now, to your issue.... if this is the case, I believe the commercials probably got a unique identifier assigned to them. A campaign might run for the month of June, and when the campaign is over, that commercial is removed from your drive. It is very well possible that when you record a show with a inserted commercial, it does not record the commercial again on another part of the DVR, but simply points to the existing piece of video already on there. If the campaign ends however, that commercial is also deleted.
It could very well be that if a commercial does not exist (similarly to a local time slot that did not get sold), DirecTV inserts its own commercial. And again, this commercial might have been pushed on to your hard drive at some point. And as such..... it could happen that a NEWER ad is shown on an OLDER show.
For DirecTV ads period, it might be that there is a "always-point-to-the-newest-ad" system or something.
Again, this is a theory.... but since I do know that they have been testing localized commercials with a push system, that might have been the reason.