This time last year, we launched one of Tablo’s most ambitious new features: Automatic Commercial Skip.
Since then, our cloud-based servers have processed millions of hours of Over-the-Air TV recordings and saved each Tablo customer from watching more than 6000 ad breaks.
That’s over 300 hours of annoying commercials you didn't have to sit through!
Today we’re excited to announce our latest update to the Automatic Commercial Skip servers which provides increased commercial detection accuracy and allows us to support the processing of even more programs including local and national news!
Keep reading to learn more…
Increased Accuracy for Commercial Detection
Tablo’s Automatic Commercial Skip servers employ a hybrid of digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms and machine learning to identify commercial breaks.
Overall commercial detection has significantly improved, but this latest server update also includes specific enhancements around:
- Detection of ‘end of program’ content – Previously, the final segment in a program or previews for upcoming episodes were sometimes misidentified as commercials due to similarities with ad breaks. Now ‘end of program’ content will receive a secondary review to help ensure ads are properly flagged. (NOTE - Once the final video segment is over, all remaining video within the recording will not be skipped.)
- Detection on recordings with mild broadcast errors – Previously, some recordings with mild broadcast errors due to OTA TV reception problems could cause Commercial Skip detection to fail. Handling of these errors has improved so more recordings can be processed successfully despite these blips.
- Detection of ‘sandwiched’ content – Broadcasters sometimes place short bits of content between two ads to keep consumers from fast-forwarding. Additional work has been done to preserve program content while eliminating the ad segments on both ends.
- Customized detection for popular programs – We have created program-specific algorithms for many popular shows including Jeopardy, Big Bang Theory, and daytime soap operas to ensure even more accurate ad detection.
- Unique program/commercial formats – Previously, some programs were ineligible for Automatic Commercial Skip processing as the format of the show or the commercial slots were particularly unusual. Thanks to additional tuning of the algorithms, we have now reduced the number of filtered programs by 80%.
Some older and less popular programs – particularly reruns of 60s Westerns like Bonanza – are still ineligible for this reason, but we hope to make many more programs with ads eligible for processing via future updates.
Even more improvements can be expected once late night and daytime talk shows as well as local news return to their traditional studio formats once the current pandemic has passed.
News Now Eligible for Automatic Commercial Skip Processing
In a time where more consumers are tuning into news than ever, we’re incredibly excited to now offer commercial-free viewing of news programming from across the United States.
A significant part of the work in this update focused on tuning the Automatic Commercial Skip algorithms to successfully process local and national news, as well as newsmagazines like 20/20, 60 Minutes, and CBS Sunday Morning.
As we mentioned when we launched Automatic Commercial Skip, news programs posed a particularly difficult challenge due to the frequent shifts between the anchors in the studio, reporters in the field, and news clips. (Good Morning America remains ineligible for the time being due to this issue.)
While we feel confident about the processing of U.S.-based news programs in general, additional tuning will be required over the coming months.
Canadian news and newsmagazine programs are also now eligible for processing, but some unusual very short ads, and/or station breaks may be missed until more recordings are available for analysis and additional fine-tuning work is undertaken.
However, we have taken particular care to avoid misidentifying news program content from either side of the border as being commercial content within this release.
NOTE - Previously ineligible programs will not be uploaded for processing until after an eligible recording completed on May 4th, 2020 or thereafter has been successfully uploaded to the Automatic Commercial Skip server.
News programs airing on channels without commercial interruptions such as PBS and TVO will not be processed.
How to Get the Tablo Automatic Commercial Skip Update
No action is required to receive the update for subscribers of Tablo’s Premium Service, as the changes have been applied to our cloud-based servers where Automatic Commercial Skip processing is completed.
If you’re not a current subscriber to Tablo’s Premium Service but would like to try Automatic Commercial Skip again, you can purchase the add-on within the Tablo account portal and enable the feature within the settings of a supported Tablo app.
Having Troubles with Tablo Automatic Commercial Skip?
If you’re a current subscriber to Tablo’s Premium Service but are experiencing issues with Automatic Commercial Skip, please review the troubleshooting article on the Tablo Knowledge Base.
If you’ve followed the troubleshooting steps and are still not seeing skips on completed recordings via supported apps, or are seeing instances where specific ad breaks are not skipped repeatedly on a specific program, please don’t hesitate to touch base with Tablo Support with details.
We hope you enjoy this new update to one of our favorite Tablo features!
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