A new Plex feature will literally remove commercials from TV recordings. However, it’s only part of the paid service and could eat up processing power.
The feature is part of Plex DVR, which is a combination of a DVR box and a media streamer. It runs on a computer connected to a TV antenna, records over-the-air shows, then streams them over your local network to the device and screen of your choice.
Right now users will need to be running the beta channel of Plex and manually enable the commercial skipping feature. It will then automatically remove the ads when playing back content.
The downside is that Plex has to edit the recording files before they become available for playback rather than removing the ads on the fly. It also warns of potential high CPU usage, likely because it’s effectively a form of video editing. The feature will only be accessible with the paid Plex Pass variant, which starts at $4.99 a month.
How TV companies respond remains to be seen. Broadcasters weren’t happy with the idea of users being able to fast-forward through ads when watching on DVRs, let alone the process being automated. Indeed, when Dish introduced the “AutoHop” feature that removed the need to even press the fast forward button, it prompted a legal battle that wound up with the feature being disabled for varying periods after broadcast for stations owned by Disney, CBS and Fox.