[mythtv-users] The future of MythTV

Gary Buhrmaster gary.buhrmaster at gmail.com
Sat Jun 5 16:34:43 UTC 2021

On Sat, Jun 5, 2021 at 3:56 PM Ken Mandelberg <km at mathcs.emory.edu> wrote:

> I envy the platforms that employ some outside service to do the marking
> by whatever technology or human efforts they employ.

The ones that get it "mostly" right reportedly employ
what some call skip monkeys(*), and while various
AI can provide (sometimes good) hints (and there
are even some research papers documenting the
results), humans are still basically better in the final
judgement after any hints might be used.  It should
be noted that even those services providing
commercial detection usually limit the stations and
programs that they do detection on (presumably
due to cost).

A long time ago there was an attempt to create a
crowd-based skip-monkey service, but it never

Remember that in the US, the commercial providers
do not want you to be able to skip commercials,
and neither do the stations (for if no one watches
the commercials, those stations are not going to
get income from advertisers), so they make sure
that any heuristic that becomes widely used is
mitigated against, resulting in a cat and mouse

If one doesn't want commercials (and most people
do not), more and more content producers are
moving to providing subscription based services
that are commercial free with additional fees.
And reportedly there are enough people willing
to put their money where their mouth is to pay.

(*) The skip monkeys watch the actual programs
and make the skip points; there is a thought that
some number of multiple monkeys have to agree
to verify that the skip point is accurate, and the skip
point uses in-program metadata (reportedly the CC
data) to make sure that the offset works no matter
the various time bases used (which also requires
that the playback device provide the needed stream
access to align the skip points across recordings).

(**) When transitioning used a black image (or
two), and commercial detection used that, the
stations eliminated the black image.  When
logo detection was used, the stations removed
the logo earlier and added it back later.  And
so on and so on.

(***) Of course some of the heuristics still work
some of the time.  Which is often more
frustrating than not working at all, although
not working at all is frustrating too if you
expect it to be available.

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