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TiVo tries running pre-roll ads before your recorded shows

Whether or not everyone sees this is another story.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
09.20.19 in AV
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REUTERS/Steve Marcus

It might soon be that much harder to avoid ads by using a DVR. TiVo appears to be testing 15-second pre-roll ads that play before recorded shows, making it difficult to avoid at least some marketing -- you can fast-forward through the promos, but it's "not that seamless," according to community forum member AndyF. The test ads are low-resolution but appear to come from a number of well-known companies, including Amazon, Keurig and Toyota. It's uncertain how many people are included in the test, although AndyF noticed them on a Bolt DVR using the TiVo Experience 4 interface.

TiVo didn't confirm or deny the test when reached for comment. It told Engadget that it was "dedicated to innovation" in offering control over how you watch, and that it's "investing in new advertising experiences." It also claimed that its latest advertising units always let you skip them by hitting "skip," although it didn't elaborate on why that wasn't the case in this test.

This doesn't necessarily guarantee that TiVo will run ads before recordings, or for all people if it does. This may be used to subsidize or eliminate monthly fees where they apply, or offer free ad-supported content. CNN noted that TiVo aims to release a $50 Android TV-powered dongle in early 2020 that would offer the company's internet-only service, for example. Pre-roll ads could help make products like that more affordable to people who'd otherwise never consider the TiVo ecosystem.

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