Fast Forwarding Disabled For Video On Demand

So last week, I decided to watch Hell’s Kitchen through Comcast’s On Demand service, since I didn’t feel like going in the bedroom where I had it DVR’d. When the first commercial break came, I reached for the remote and hit the FF button. Instead of fast forwarding through the commercials, I got a symbol like this:

That’s a new one. For whatever reason, Comcast was preventing me from fast forwarding through the commercials. Too lazy to go into the other room, I decided to just deal with the commercials.

What a mistake! In a 2-hour episode of Hell’s Kitchen, there are about 40 minutes worth of commercials. I figured the VOD commercials would be short like the ones on Hulu are. But these were painful 3-4 minute commercials. It really sucked.

There are tons of people complaining about this on Comcast’s forums, and this is their official response on the situation:

The ad models in the free VOD vary by network and sometimes by show, with some of the content fast-forward disabled and others providing full trick mode, according to Jenckes. CBS and NBC shows have fast-forward enabled, while for some ABC and Fox shows fast forward is disabled.

Later in the week, my girl wanted to watch Bachelor Pad through On Demand. ABC also disables Fast Forwarding, but they handle their commercials differently from FOX. They show you the SAME DAMN COMMERCIAL OVER AND OVER AGAIN for two hours! I saw the trailer for The Help over a dozen times.

C’mon ABC, it’s bad enough I’m forced to watch Bachelor Pad, can’t you at least mix it up with some different commercials?

It just goes to show you that the networks just don’t get it. Stick a 30 second commercial, or some sort of rollover on the screen, and people would be fine with it. But drive them crazy, and they won’t watch your shows on VOD anymore. Or maybe at all.

What happens when my DVR cuts off the last few minutes of a show thanks to a delayed start? I have to let my VOD show run for 1:57 mins unattended so I can see those last 3 minutes I missed?

Guess no one thought of that scenario..

 

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About the author: Zander Chance

 

 

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10 Comments

  • This pissed me off last night.. My DVR cut off the last 2 minutes of New Girl, so I pulled up the episode On Demand. But since there was no way to skip ahead, I just gave up.

    WTF?!

  • Sarah

    It’s not that they didn’t think of it. They just don’t care. Greed.

  • David Bertelo

    The media companies are way to slow on the technologies advancement. They try and muscle people into thier antiquated models and it just won’t work. Fox has moved to an eight day delay to Hulu to try and force people to watch the original broadcast…. The problem? As someone who has decided to not have cable (the price model is for you to pay mostly for content your not watching), I simply use over the air (ota) broadcast with an antenna and a combination of Netflix and Hulu. Hulu can be great as a replacement for a dvr to catch up on a missed episode… well unless that episode is on fox. With an eight day delay the next episode will air before I can watch my catch up episode. So unless one is to illegally pirate that episode then the only solution is to only use Hulu to watch all subsequent episodes, the exact opposite objective of the eight day delay.

    It is simply a lack of intelligence. We seem to correlate the wealth and power of some of these executives with intelligence, but it’s simply not the case. The people making the decisions got into power in a time when competition was scarce.

    I’m not that old myself but I do remember a time when there was only an option of three networks, PBS, and since we were in the ny/nj market two local chanels. In a short time their competition went from 3 show a timeslot to 500. And they badly could handle that. The only thing the major networks had left was the control of key time slots. Put a show between “Friends” and “Seinfeld” and they will watch it. Now the consumer has all the control, and with artists and companies releasing thier content online with YouTube channels or direct to consumer like Louis CKs stand up hour, we are not far from a system change.

    With out mp3’s, napster, and online music piracy we would never had the the iPod, and from there devices like the iPhone (that I’m using to type this). The music companies would have preferred we all have cd’s still. Actually the music industry would probably preferred we all still use records, because you couldn’t use you computer to copy one for your friend. The TV and movie industry are now in the same spot.

    This is the transition point we were at in 2002 with music. Most musicians thought Mp3’s would destroy music as we knew it. The reality is the musicians who put out a crapy album, with only one or two good tracks that could be played over the radio and used in a movie and the rest being garbage, didn’t sell. Those artist that had a good product did well. Since the artists made pennies for album sales and most money was made touring and merchandising. Louis CK just the the same for Video. His comedy special was filmed independently, released online in a easy format, and came with a simple note saying “please don’t steal this”. He was able to cover his cost and make some money for himself after 4 days of sales, and after 11 days he claimed he had made too much money, so after giving generous bonuses to his staff he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity.

    The problem is the greed and ignorance of the execs… But I’m guessing in less then 10 years we will be on a 100 video on demand system.

  • lilkunta

    what i dont get is when an episode is more than 2 weeks old why is FF function still disabled?

    i appreciate that cbs allows FF no matter what: whether the episode is new or old.

  • Henriette

    I would like to know who is deciding to disable the FF function? Is it Comcast or the network?

    I suspect that it’s Comcast, and if that’s true, they should start losing their customers!!

    • Sujeet Patel

      I’m guessing it’s the network who made that decision.. Otherwise, wouldn’t Comcast just disable FF on all of their on-demand shows?

  • Joe Piazza

    These commercials suck plain and simple.

  • steve

    Cosmos ffw disabled. Corporate kiss @$$ Comcast stomps on joe subscriber again. God Bless America!

  • Daron

    I really hate that Comcast did this. Nobody doesn’t want to sit and watch those dumb commercials.

  • tvwatcher

    100% greed on both the part of Comcast and Fox. That’s why I don’t watch any Fox shows any more.

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