Muting commercials-- can it be done?


Senior Member
Guys and Gals,
I was wondering if it could be possible to mute commercials. I have an old VCR lying around if I knew how to tell when commercials were on? Any suggestions?
Beyond TV has "chapter skip" (called Smart Skip). You may be able to use this for what you want to do, being that the API open now. One thing to note, though, is that it does not tag the commercials during live tv. It actually goes back through recordings and adds the chapters at a later time. The chapters are stored in an XML file, as far as I remember.

Just throwing out an idea...

I think mythtv can do this (open source, free), one other way maybe could be by building something which looks at the audio signal, if it goes up all of a sudden, most of the times it is because of the commercials starting. I would think the electronic experts here might have some input.
Detecting commercials (and anything else) based on probable events like the volume going up (and not all commercials are necessarily loud) just won't cut it when it comes to recording something as important as a TV show, where you can't "undo" a mistake. Even if it works perfectly 19 times out of 20, that 20th time where it stopped recording because the loud scream or gun shot got mistaken for a commercial will make you stop using it out of frustration.

What's needed is a fundamental change in the signal itself, and that can vary from one TV station to the next. I remember reading something a long time ago where commercials were normally recorded in mono sound, so you could assume that a switch from stereo to mono sound was a commercial break. But now stereo is so common that I'm sure commercials must also be stereo by now.

My thinking is that if it hasn't been done reliably by now, its because its not a simple thing to do.
I am pretty sure there is a blank frame, some applications use this method if I am not mistaken.