Originally posted by hall
According to people over at the Yahoo! Groups for the Explorer 8000, the box in fact had a software function for a 30-second skip that could be accessed more simply with programmable remotes (not using macros and what-not). At some point, SciAtl completely disabled or removed this portion of the software.
I doubt it's coming back....
I wouldn't be surprised. Commercial skipping has always been controversial. I'm sure that we all recall the broadcasters' suit against Sonic Blue for the automatic remove-all-commercials on playback feature that they put into ReplayTV. Defending themselves from that suit was arguably what took them into receivership (toward the end, they were soliciting donations from the public), and the buyer of Replay sensibly removed the feature from the product which they now sell.
Broadcast television is paid for completely by advertisement and non-premium cable/DBS-only channels (A&E, SciFi, etc) are supplemented by that income. Supposedly the advertisers are getting increasingly tight with their money because they perceive that television is become an increasingly less effective advertising medium. Over the years, this has led to broadcast television becoming populated with less and less expensive programming, beginning with the flood of "news magazines", which have nearly been replaced by the even cheaper "reality" show.
People have gotten awfully good at ignoring interstitial ads even without electronic commercial-skip gimmicks; they get up and go the the bathroom, make quick phone calls, grab a snack. The experienced television watcher has a keen internal sense of the length of the standard commercial break and will sit back down just as it ends.
I can see where the cable SOs might ask SA to remove a feature like that. They sell local advertisement on the cable-only channels; giving their home customers the ability to automatically skip them without even a glance is hardly in their interest.
Personally, I rarely watch television live. If there's nothing on that I want to watch except for something that I'm currently recording, I'll either watch another recording for a while or go do something else for half an hour. I don't mind zapping the ads manually. I sometimes catch a glimpse of things which interest me, like ads for new movies, or an interesting new car or gadget.
Eventually there should be dual-tuner CableCARD DVRs with at least instant 30-second skip. Replay has gotten away with that all along without invoking the wrath of Hollywood. TiVo has it as a "back-door" option; why they never added it as a feature in new products is beyond me (or maybe they have). BTW--I love the way that Replay describes the feature: "Quickskip
Skip 30 seconds of a recorded or delayed show. Great for skipping those slow scenes."