Live pause and watching ads free tv programs

"Oh oh, the baby is crying"

"Just pause the program.  I will watch once I attend to him".

"What!  pausing a tv program!  What are you talking about?  It is not a DVD."

"No, it is better than DVD."

"Perhaps you should explain."

These days, many of us use a Set Top Box (STB) to view TV programs.   There are two (popular) types of STBs - cable and satellite.  In satellite STBs (which is also called DTH broadcast), we have a small dish which receives signals, which then passes through the STB and gets into the TV.  In cable STBs, the signals come via cable.

In the good old days of Doordarshan, we needed to have an antenna to watch TV programs.  This was because the broadcast was terrestrial and the signals came to the TV by means of this antenna.  Then came the era of cable TV, where cable operators downloaded contents via large dishes and sent by means of cables.

The older TVs restricted the number of channels that you could watch.  Also, the signals broadcast by cable were analog - this restricted the number of channels that could be transmitted.

Thus the need for STBs.  This allowed for digital signals which both increased the number of channels that could be transmitted as well as enhanced the quality.

As per a recent/upcoming regulation, all cable TVs are expected to get digitized in the coming years.

The simplest STBs support viewing of channels broadcast by the provider and nothing much.  Then there are models which come with some games.  The recent ones allow viewing of HD channels - which are high-quality TV programs which have much better viewing experience than normal channels.  Then there are STB models which allow you to record and playback TV programs.  These are typically called DVRs.  The newest models allow you to connect the STB to internet and download and watch internet content (besides TV content).

The features provided by the STB is determined by the provider.  The simple ones are fairly cheap and in some cases provided free of cost.  The more the features, the more the cost of the box. 

To cut a long story short, if you have an STB which allows you to record, then you can typically Pause a TV program.  The STB immediately begins to record the content of that channel in the background.  Once you Resume, it begins to playback from the place you had paused.  The screen is frozen the instance the Pause key on the STB remote is pressed.

This feature is in addition to the ability to specify any TV program to be recorded.

Now how do these help us view TV programs ads free?  Simple.  

Set for recording the TV program that you are interested in - say a Hindi movie, at 2 PM.  Typically, a 3 hour movie completes in 3 and a half hours with 30 minute ads.

Start watching this movie at 2.30 PM by choosing the Playback option.  Each time, there is an ad break, use the Fast forward function of the remote to Forward/Skip ads!  

STBs that support Recording typically have 2 tuners, thereby allowing you to watch one program, while recording another.  By recording one movie and pausing another movie during ads break, you can watch two movies - switching back and forth during ad breaks.

Serial lovers no longer need to worry about channel clash - two channels broadcasting their TV programs at the same time.  Record one, watch the other!

Family fights on which program to watch together will also be lessened since one can be recorded while the other watched.   Just define a time-frame for each person : the kid 4-6 PM, the elders 6-8 PM, the others 8-10 PM, etc.

Of course, you still need to bear the agony of ads for live programs (like cricket matches), unless you have HD STB and the cricket is shown ad free in an HD channel.


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