A new device from TiVo may not sit well with TV networks — and may revive the kind of anxiety that greeted Dish’s Hopper, which sparked lawsuits from a number of networks.
The device is the new TiVo Bolt, which boasts a feature called SkipMode. “With one press of a button on the remote, TiVo’s new digital video recorder will skip the entire commercial break,” the AP reports. “That’s quicker than the 30-second forward feature found on previous TiVos.”
The Bolt tags the beginning and ending of commercial breaks, enabling users to skip that section when they’re playing back the programming they’ve recorded.
“The feature will work with about 20 over-the-air and cable channels, including the major broadcast networks, mostly during prime-time hours,” the AP notes.
Another feature of the Bolt is its “quick mode,” which plays back recorded programs 30 percent faster, using software to adjust the pitch on the audio. “With this and the commercial skipping, it will be possible to watch an hour-long show in roughly a half-hour,” the AP reports.
Will the new device prompt a round of lawsuits? The report notes that satellite provider Dish continues to deal with suits over the Hopper.
“Dish has been settling them as part of broader agreements for rights to include the channels on Dish’s lineup,” the AP notes. “In an agreement with CBS, for instance, Dish’s commercial-skipping feature is blocked for the first seven days after a program is broadcast on a CBS-owned station.”
TiVo apparently hopes to avoid similar legal problems with the Bolt and SkipMode, pointing out that it is up to viewers to activate the ad-skipping feature.
Said TiVo Inc. Vice President Jim Denney: “We’re not changing the underlying content. We’re not auto-eliminating commercials. The user does it. We’re giving users a tool to get through their content more quickly.”