andy vt's tools & blog

automating lazy

About this Page

  • Title:
  • Moderated By:
  • Created:
  • Modified:
  • Modified By: babgvant
  • Revision:

  • Internal Url:

Common Tasks

Commercial Skip Addin

The Add-in

NOTE: If you are having trouble, check out the TroubleShootingCommercialSkip guide.


The Commercial Skip add-in is a plug-in that works with the Media Center GUI.  It does not change the appearance of the GUI, but, rather, intercepts certain key presses from the remote control and moves the currently playing video forward or backward as appropriate.  

The add-in does not do anything unless you are watching a recorded DVR-MS file.  If you are watching a movie, it doesn't do anything.  It also doesn't do anything while you are navigating the menus.  It just sits in the background, waiting for you to start watching a recorded TV show.

Once you start watching a recorded TV show, the add-in looks for a corresponding XML file that tells it where the commercials start and stop (I'll talk about how that XML file gets created later).  Based on the settings you have chosen in the Commercial Skip add-in setup, the add-in will automatically skip the commercials for you, or it will wait for you to hit the right arrow to skip to the end of the next set of commercials.

The Settings

The following screenshot shows the settings screen:


Max Skip Minutes: The maximum number of minutes that can be skiped (only for manually triggered skips)
SkipBoxMinMinutes: The minimum number of minutes that can be skipped, and have the box display (only used if Skip Display Type is set to SkipBox).  This setting is used as a variation of the SkipBox Display Type.  Instead of showing the number of minutes skipped in the Box every time, the add-in will only show the box if the number of minutes skipped is greater than this setting.  The intent is to have a normal skip bar show up for a normal length skip, however, if the skip is too long (and likely a incorrectly detected commercial) the box appears as a “warning”.
Skip Display Type: Classic - displays the position bar, None - no display, SkipBox – Displays the number of minutes skipped, Skip Bar – Displays the position bar before the skip and after the skip (the intent is to show via the skip bar how far it skipped)
Commercial Path: Path to location of XML files
Scan Choice: Prompt - when no commercial file is found, present a dialog asking to queue the file with the FW for processing, Auto - automattically queue the file, None - do nothing
Input Disable Time: number of seconds to disable key handling when the disable key is pressed
Disable Key: Toggles the following 4 keys between their normal use and the add-in actions (useful if you need to use the arrow keys to dismiss a dialog box)
Forward Key: Jump to the end of the next commercial span
Back Key: Jump to the position that the last skip forward was executed from
Skip On Key: Turn on autoskip
Skip Off Key: Turn off autoskip
Auto Skip: Automatically jump to the end of a commercial span
Write Events: Debugging (writes events to the Event Viewer)
Skip back disable: if checked, autoskip is temporarily disabled until the current position passes the location of the last skip back
Log MSAS Events: writes Media State Aggregation Events (MSAS) to the event log, very verbose
Reload Settings: if checked settings will be reloaded when a new file is played


When you install DTb, one of the installation screens presents you with the options to (1) install the Commercial Skip add-in and (2) register the add-in.  "Registering" is a one-line command that tells Media Center about the add-in.  You have to register the add-in before you will be able to use the add-in in the Media Center interface.  If you have already installed the add-in, but did not register it at the time, no worries - there is a shortcut to register the add-in in the Start menu.  Just run the shortcut, and a DOS window will open up telling you if it was successful.  Note: the shortcut will first attempt to unregister the add-in, and, if it was never registered, this will correctly indicate a failure; however, it will then try to register the add-in, and the output created by this action is where you want to look to see if it registered correctly.


Check out the TroubleShootingCommercialSkip guide.

Commercial Detectors: ComSkip/ShowAnalyzer

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of tweaking ComSkip or ShowAnalyzer.  There are forums for both CS and SA for that.  What I will discuss here is how you install and setup one or both.

CS is free.  Actually, it's donation-ware, so, if you use it, you should give something back to the author.

SA is trial-ware.  It will not work on DVR-MS files without a trial key, which you can request from the developer here.


This part is extremely easy - the installer will automatically install the CS executable and a default .ini file (it doesn't contain an installer, so DTb just copies the files for you), and it will give you the option to install SA.  Just accept the defaults for SA.

Setting the Default Commercial Detector

Coming soon...

Setting the Commercial Detector for a Specific Profile

When you add the FindCommercials action to a profile, you can select whether to use the Default detector, or override the default setting and specify which detector to use.

What's Next

You should also read up on how DVRMStoMPEGcreate it and FileWatcher work.  These components of DTb perform the Actions specified in a given Profilecreate it on a file or directory.
@2008 andy vt
Powered by Community Server (Non-Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems