I know that some VCR's feature a commercial skip function, which, i assume, you can be recording a tv show, and the tv commercials would be removed from the finished recording. I assume the VCR would pause recording during the commercials, and then resume recording when the show was back on. I am wondering if such a VCR could be used when converting video tapes to digital media. Like maybe a commercial skipping VCR could be used when capturing the tapes. I am not sure how good commercial skip works on a VCR, but if it is effective, i would love to use such a VCR.
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No such thing exists.
"Commercial skip" was just a FF that last for 30-60-etc seconds. Silly feature that never worked well.
If you didn't press the button, nothing happened.
Pretty sure that is NOT how they work, snafoo. VCRs are a real-time medium, and are quite old school regarding syncing & transport.
If they paused during recording, there would be a not insignificant glitch in the signal which would wreak havoc on capture devices, as well as make the live playback temporarily unstable. Especially since it was also not possible for them to know & maintain their place on the tape during non-standard tape travel (it is already nearly impossible do it with pro decks that have genlock & synced vitc timecome). Not even counting the probable tape wear.
More likely that it puts a marker (in the control track?) and continues recording as normal in realtime, and upon playback skips (FFWD) from commercial start to commercial end. This will still have problems glitching with capturing and display.
Much better & cleaner to just edit it after the fact.
I see LS beat me to it.
Before there was a ever a "commercial skip" (jump ahead) button on any VCR...
A couple fly-by-night firms did actually sell a "black box" accessory that claimed to auto-edit ads. 35+ years ago, TV was a more leisurely place with "breathing room" between commercials and programming. These black boxes claimed to sense the little gaps, and would pause your VCR (via the remote pause jack most early VCRs had) at the beginning of a commercial block, then release it back to record mode at the end. These were lucrative devices for the sellers, priced at 30% the cost of a VCR and pitched in the back pages of video hobbyist magazines. Practically speaking, they didn't work well, if at all. They required that a TV station adhere religiously to a very specific structure of commercial breaks: few channels matched this exactly. Inevitably, you got half a commercial break or the show you wanted was missing parts. Ad agencies were spooked enough by the mere existence of these faulty devices that they pressured broadcasters to erode and eliminate the slight pauses between show and commercial, and between each commercial, guaranteeing no further refined version of the idea would ever work.
I vaguely remember a system built into a handful of VCRs that used a marker system similar to what Cornucopia describes, but it was totally manual. You needed to press a marker button on the remote at the beginning/end of each commercial break while watching/recording in real time. Afterward during playback, you could make the VCR fast forward past each ad break (you could also mark the break points after timer recordings during later playback). It was accurate enough if you were, but very clunky due to the clunky nature of VCR mechanisms, and you still sat thru the ads at least once. Also of no use if you changed to another VCR: the VHS marker system was a fad feature that lasted only a couple years, promoted mostly by Sony and somewhat less by Panasonic. Most of the VCRs that had the system were low-middle range early 90s models, it didn't get much traction in SVHS.
Last edited by orsetto; 9th Jan 2021 at 00:23.
Yeah, that jibes with my memory of it.
I heard that before but not sure if it has anything to do with VHS, If I'm not mistaken DishNetwork included a signal telling the DVR to skip recording commercials and they got sued for it and I believe they won because it worked only on non live recordings. But yes there is no such VCR commercial skip that detects the exact markings of start and stop of the commercials.
In a TS stream, it is possible for the commercials to have a different PID than the main program, making the demarcation much easier. But that's not the normal way these are transmitted, AFAIK. Just program to program.
Most devices that use some form of auto triggering do so by recognizing the video's "dip to black" that is the common form of bookending both programs and commercials. Problem with that is the "common", because it isn't a hard and fast rule so there are exceptions. And there are false positives also, as many programs will dip to black between major scenes (chapters?).
Something else that existed was "indexing" of VHS tapes, which also never worked. In theory, you could have "indexed" before and after a commercial, and the jumped the index. But it was imprecise, mess up the recording, and I rarely saw it. My early 1990s RCA deck had it, but the deck was terrible at both recording and playback, I used it for maybe 10 tapes before dumping it.