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From Banner Ads To TV Commercials

So I’ve started a new project at home. Well, not so much a new project as fine tuning a previous one.

We use Windows Media Center as our PVR. It is connected to two TV tuners so we can watch and record shows. We don’t have any cable boxes from our cable company. This affords us total control over how media is recorded, stored, and accessible. It also let’s us do some things we otherwise couldn’t.

One of those things is stripping commercials from both our recorded and live TV. That is my current project.

If you’ve read my post a few months ago on filtering out advertisements on our network you’ll know I really dislike being bombarded with advertising. Since then we’ve also set up Adblock Plus on all of our mobile computers, to keep everything nice and tidy while we’re away from home. The last piece in this filter is our TV.

I’m not going to get into the ultra geeky details on how I’m setting this up. I’m still testing a couple of solutions, most of which are surprisingly simple, and free. What I want to discuss today is the how it feels to forget about these types of noise in our day to day life. I’m still thrown off a little when browsing the “noisy” internet on a friend’s computer. I forget what that is like.

I suspect after some time of no longer seeing commercials on TV I’ll have a similar experience at friends’ houses.

Of course this system won’t be perfect. In order to pull commercials from “live” TV you run into a slight delay to compensate for the gaps, and some commercials are missed entirely. I figure I am getting about 30% still coming through right now, with only an hour or two of time invested. It already feels great.

Some people have pointed out that I’m bypassing the very business that either pay or subsidize the content I enjoy. I’ll agree there is some validity to that argument but I’m looking a little further than that. I’m not happy having content thrust at me and not having control over it.

I think this is what being a geek is all about. Having the drive and determination to tweak the everyday things around you. Installing buttons and levers where there are none. Making technology work for you, even in ways it may not have been intended to.

Posted in : Geekdom
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