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The TiVo 30-Second Commercial Skip Hack

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Hack #96 from Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin (O’Reilly Media).

Forget about fast forwarding through commercials; blaze through in just three to five clicks of your remote.

One of the religious differences between TiVo and ReplayTV owners is how they fast forward through commercials. While TiVo’s button will get you through those intrusive breaks soon enough, it requires some trained skill to manipulate those and play buttons while keeping a keen eye and trusting your instincts to anticipate the end of the commercials. ReplayTV, on the other hand, has a “30-second skip” button, timed specifically for skipping through commercials. Since television commercials are traditionally a multiple of 30 seconds long, ReplayTV owners just hit the “30-second skip” button three to five times to render commercials only a minor annoyance.

This feature is so effective that it has stirred up quite a bit of controversy with the networks, who are getting their hackles up, labeling commercial skipping as theft and even taking ReplayTV to court.

Don’t you wish TiVo had a 30-second skip? It does, thanks to a little Easter egg magic.

The end button on the TiVo remote will bring you to the end of a program, or if you are at the end, it will bring you to the beginning. If you are fast forwarding, the end button will skip you to the next tick mark. This hack is all about repurposing that button to act as the 30-second skip.

Bring up any recorded program or Live TV. Then, enter the following sequence on your remote:

Select → play → Select → 3 → 0 → Select

You’ll know the combination worked when TiVo rings out three Thumbs Up sounds; that chiming “bling!” sound TiVo makes when you press the thumbs up button on your remote control. Your end button will now skip forward by 30 seconds.

Note that this hack isn’t permanent. If at any time your TiVo needs to be rebooted — after becoming unplugged or as a result of a power failure — the hack will go away and you will have to reapply it.

Home Tehater Hacks Book Cover

This material has been adapted from Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin, published by O’Reilly Media, Inc. Copyright O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2005. All rights reserved.

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A smart collection of insider tips and tricks, Home Theater Hacks covers home theater installation from start to finish, purchase to experience. Just imagine: no frustrating trial and error process and better yet, no expensive appointments with installation experts. Home Theater Hacks prevents both by imparting down-and-dirty technique not found anywhere else.

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  1. Aaron Ingebrigtsen

    February 6, 2015 at 12:29 am

    It’s not working on my TiVo Series 2. Select, right arrow (brings up program info bar), select (starts recording the program), 30 (changes the channel), select (makes the channel change sooner).

    • Aaron Ingebrigtsen

      February 6, 2015 at 12:48 am

      Ooooh, Ok, it’s not the Right button, it’s the Play button. It works now.

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