In context: Digital video recorders are great for recording TV shows when you are not able to watch them live. They also provide the side benefit of being able to skip commercials, which is a big plus. In fact, fast-forwarding through ads is the primary reason I use TiVo's DVR.
However, digital media blog Zats Not Funny has noticed that TiVo is beginning to run ads before recorded shows. The platform first started placing the ads on Tuesday in what appears to be a move to further monetize the service.
For now, the pre-roll ads are in the testing phase. Users in the TiVo community forum are noticing that the ads are slow loading and in a lower resolution than the recording. The ads can be fast-forwarded, but it is "not that seamless." One user posted a video showing that recorded content loads after the commercial has run or been skipped.
The company may be looking to offer a lower-cost or free subscription using the ads, which seems fair as long as the ads are limited to that. If they start running them for paying customers or those who get TiVo with their cable service, the company could face considerable user backlash.
It also may have something to do with its plans for a TiVo Plus service.
As noted by CNN, TiVo is planning on splitting into two companies. One will be handling patents, which is in part due to the Rovi buyout in 2016. The other will focus on products, including TiVo Plus, slated to launch next month.
As long as it is smart about how and who sees the pre-roll ads, it should not have a problem with customers complaining, but we'll see.