Sunsetting Commercial Skip For New Customers

I received an email today from Tablo stating that they will no longer be offering Automatic Commercial Skip as an option for new customers…

I’m just really curious as to why?

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I too came here just to see if there is a rationale to remove a feature that is acknowledged that " been a popular feature for some Tablo Over-the-Air DVR owners."

Seems one would like to not remove it and it may be a selling point?

I seem to recall one company recently advertising that their system would automatically skip the into and credits portions of recordings as well. Another something I do manually.

let me think about it for a second, pretending I know what I talk about.

On one hand I have unpopular/rarely used features, on the other hand I have a feature that is popular with some users, and is a premium (charged) feature. Which should I remove?

Only reason I can think of is that the premium feature can get me into legal trouble, or that it is not making a profit and I don’t think it will be popular at higher cost.

But even so, then I’d phase it out immediately for all. Since, well, money.

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Thanks for the link to the Blog post…
So the reason is:
“The engineering, support, and cloud computing resources required for Automatic Commercial Skip have been significant and the uptake on the Premium Service subscription has not been as strong as we’d anticipated.”

I have to say I’m surprised. It’s one of the best features and I’ve been happy to pay for it.

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oh, so I’m right, it’s too expensive for the company to maintain at the price point. Oh well, I don’t see how they then can justify a slowly shrinking user base. Can you?

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Ironically I came here to complain about the performance of the commercial skip as of late. In the middle of the skip, it tends to hang and buffer for extremely long times (more than it would be to watch the commercials). Backing out and resuming allows it to continue from the beyond the skip, but that takes away the “automatic” part if I have to go through all that. However, I take it not much focus or work will be done on that front given it’s sunsetting. Shame really, definitely feel it’s the one feature that puts Tablo above watching shows on the streaming apps instead.

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How long before it is sunset for existing customers?
Seems if it is too expensive to maintain and is a net loss the other shoe is going to drop.

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@joedv
I have to wonder if you don’t have some other issue going on. Commercial skip behaves normally and works quite well on my system…so it doesn’t seem like there is some systemic problem going on.

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Yeah, after looking at the forum it seems to be an issue with commercial skip and fast-forwarding on Roku players (mine is a Roku TV). So, a Roku app issue but still hate to see the skip feature go away.

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I think this will be the beginning of the end for Tablo! The commercial skip is horrible.

Their blog post said it would be around for the “foreseeable future”. Which is PR speak for about a year I would imagine.

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Well one thing they certainly found the way to make me subscribe to it… I was holding out since I have two tablos for it to be made an account wide subscription instead of by the tablo since I won’t pay $40 bucks for it. BUt wit the threat of never having it, I relented and subscribed on the one I watch the most. The one that faces south.

There might be an issue getting the computing resources necessary for this feature. Traditional Intel/AMD systems are not able to compute AI/machine learning workloads efficiently so cloud providers often pair them with additional chips, often GPUs, to accelerate this part of the workload. This, coupled with the ongoing semiconductor shortage creates a problem.

Tablo could look at using Ampere ARM processors at Oracle Cloud or other provider. They don’t advertise their AI/machine learning capability but they work well for my AI workloads and they are actually available and cost effective.

I tried commercial skip when it first came out and then again at a later time, IIRC. I found it to be somewhat unreliable and fast fwd was working well for me. If you’re going to charge for something, it needs to be near perfect in execution and commercial skip was not IMHO.

I think this is a fair way for Tablo to do this. Let people who have it and like it keep it and just knock it out for new customers who probably don’t even know what they are missing.

I really appreciate Tablo not only informing us of the change, but also the ‘why’ of it all. Many companies just say the way it is with no rationale.

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I don’t know why they don’t just slowly increase the price for commercial skips instead like other companies do (boiling a frog in water strategy). The feature is a god send, and will be terrible when it gone.

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How so?
According to Tablo, commercial skip feature isn’t popular enough for them to sustain the service.
Good commercial skip service, or bad, many don’t use it, so it won’t affect them.

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Commercial skip is the only reason to buy a dvr

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I have CS on one of my units. It’s not like the yearly cost is high. It’s about the same as 2.5 gallons of gas. But sometimes the commercials are actually better then the regular programing.

I lived 4 years without CS. But I’ll ride the product on my one unit until it’s unplugged. Maybe by then the Roku app FF will be work better.

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I’m wondering if there are other options that might work when CS is sunsetted for us existing users (which I agree with prior comments that it will end for us too at some point in the near future).
One thing I’d like to see which would help is to add thumbnails during recordings. I heavily use thumbnails to skip past recordings on older recordings, so if this were also available during the recording process, then it may soften the blow of the loss of CS.
My Tivo does this and it’s the only thing keeping me using the Tivo for watching live recordings. For example when watching sports or the news, I can delay watching until about 30 minutes in to give me a buffer to skip over and then watch the program. Using the thumbnails, I can skip over the commercial spots without trying to guess. It’s really the one thing that Tivo has over Tablo in my opinion.

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My triggered response…
Record, rewind, fast forward, and pause are the only reasons to buy a DVR.
Everything else is icing.

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