We’ve kept a close eye on Plex and its DVR capabilities since it was first announced. It took a while, but eventually, Plex DVR became a usable solution. They eventually added the capability to detect commercials within DVR recordings but they did it in a way that left us scratching our heads. You see, Plex didn’t just find the commercials in recordings, it removed them from the file. That solution sounds better than it actually is. Fortunately, Plex now offers the option to simply skip commercials.
Skipping Versus Removing
When Plex first added commercial detection it automatically removed the commercials from the recording. That sounds great on the surface. Smaller recording files are one benefit. Not having to press fast-forward is the other. In our experience, it caused more problems than it solved. If commercial detection wasn’t perfect important parts of television shows could be removed. It wasn’t just a theory either. In our usage, it regularly cut off the end of shows.
Using Plex to skip commercials is a much better option. It still looks for commercials once the recording has finished, but instead of deleting them it just keeps a record of where in the recording the commercials happen. Then when you’re watching a show and come to a commercial break it displays a Skip Ads button. Click the button and you’re taken to the end of the commercial break. If the commercial detection was too aggressive you can just rewind the recording to see what you missed.
Configuring Commercial Skipping
If you’ve been using commercial removal with Plex DVR you’ll need to manually change a setting to use the commercial skipping feature. From the Plex web app, go to the Settings section and select “Live TV & DVR” from the “Manage” section. Then click the DVR Settings link. Scroll to the bottom of the pop-up to the “Detect Commercials” section. From there you want to select “Detect commercials and mark for skip.”
Commercial detection settings can also be changed for an individual show that is scheduled to record soon and for series recordings. Plex hasn’t officially listed which client apps support the new commercial skipping feature, but we think that all of the most popular apps do support it.