TiVo is testing pre-roll ads on DVR videos and users aren’t happy

Brittany A. Roston - Sep 20, 2019, 7:43pm CDT
TiVo is testing pre-roll ads on DVR videos and users aren’t happy

TiVo has quietly rolled out a new test that has some of its DVR customers raging. Users recently started noticing the arrival of advertisements that play before a recorded video, one that changes each time the video is loaded. Questions about these unusual ads prompted a forum post on TiVo’s website, but the company has remained quiet at this time about what it’s doing and whether users should expect to see the ads deployed broadly.

READ: TiVo Bolt OTA 4K DVR Review

News of the advertisements was recently spied on the TiVo Community forum where a user reported seeing pre-roll advertisements that would play before certain shows saved to the DVR. Though many users were confused and reported that they weren’t seeing advertisements, a few others eventually joined in saying that they, too, had been forced to watch the pre-roll ads.

The entire point of DVRs, of course, is that users can record the shows they want to watch and then fast-forward through the advertisements, saving a substantial amount of time compared to being forced to sit through commercial breaks. Pre-roll adveritsements definitely aren’t in the spirit of DVR usage.

The TiVo forum post was recently spotted by Zatz Not Funny only days after it published a report about TiVo Plus, an ambiguous product recently mentioned by TiVo CEO Dave Shull in an interview with Bloomberg. It’s unclear what exactly TiVo Plus is — the report describes it as a new product set to arrive this fall that ‘better integrates new streaming services’ in the company’s core offering.

It’s possible the newly spotted advertisement test may hint at an aspect of that service, but too few details are available at this time. A sample video published by the TiVo user in their forum post shows a very low-quality ad compared to the video saved on the DVR, though that may be due to the nature of the test. There’s no official word at this time about whether TiVo plans to introduce these pre-roll ads for all users.

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