Plex cloud laptop

Plex’s DVR Now Auto Removes Commercials From Your Recordings


Over the weekend Plex updated their DVR fixing bugs and including a new feature. Now with this most recent update, Plex DVR will automatically remove commercials from your recordings.

Plex, the wildly popular media center software, has slowly been building up its DVR service. Now it is ready to take it out of beta and make it an official part of its Plex media server.

Now in your DVR settings, you will find an option to “Remove commercials”. According to the description the option will:

Attempt to automatically detect and remove commercials from recordings. This process may take a long time and cause high CPU usage. Portion of your recordings detected as commercials will be completely removed from your video files.

To use the Plex DVR feature, connect your antenna to your media center with an HDHomeRun or a USB Tuner. From there your media center or Nvidia Shield acting as a media center will allow you to record your shows and access them just like you would with any Plex server content. Now with this new feature, it will also remove commercials from your recordings like they never existed.

In addition to a tuner and antenna, users only need a Plex Pass, which costs $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $149.99 for a lifetime subscription to use the Plex DVR feature and now the remove commercials option.

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  • Ken Jacques

    This is great news but currently I don’t see where to enable it in DVR settings?

    • Have you updated to Plex Media Server 1.10.0.4516?
      https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/1563954/#Comment_1563954

      • Ken Jacques

        Ah, I’m on 1.9.7.4460 and for some reason Check for updates is not working. I’m on the beta channel. Guess I will have to wait till it rolls out to me.

        • mikkeee

          If you’re a plex pass subscriber then go to https://www.plex.tv/downloads/. Click download. Make sure the ‘Plex Pass Downloads’ is ON and you will see version ”1.10.0.4516-6f422d9bc available.

          • Ken Jacques

            That did the trick. Had to toggle the plex pass option off and on to get it to show the latest version. Thanks!

  • paul

    what are the better devices for the plex server, other than the one computer most people own?

    • I’ve read that the Nvidia Shield, Mac Mini (models that are powerful enough by current standards), and certain NAS devices are good. I recommend you look for more info on the Plex Forums: https://forums.plex.tv/

    • Chris Kidwell

      I have a 2011 Mac mini with a 4TB USB 3.0 external drive and USB 3.0 Blu Ray Drive for ripping and it works great. Whatever you decide to go with check the passmark score of the CPU. An HD stream needs a score of 2000, so if you plan to do 2 HD streams simultaneously you’d want a CPU with a minimum passmark of 4000, 3 streams = 6000 and so on. To find the passmark just google the CPU model number with passmark in the search bar and it’s easy to find.

  • Rucknrun

    I don’t see it in my settings either.

    • Rucknrun

      Sorry I just noticed my update channel was set to Public.

  • Vegas Steve

    Anyone know if/when this will roll out to the ShieldTV?

  • CordCutting2017

    I use two different solutions with Plex. One is for the HP required to transcode after recording since my NAS (Qnap TS-251) doesn’t handle it so well. The primary for cord cutting is https://www.frys.com/product/9112798 It’s an I7 with a 1TB drive – the 4GB should be ample enough to run the processes since even when converting/stripping commercials it doesn’t hit 4GB even with 12GB installed. I also dropped $30 for the MCEBuddy app that strips commercials and it does pretty well with 2-3 shows at a time. Going with the full blown PC offers a lot more options than most other comparable devices when it comes to what it needs to do. Even with live playback on Plex it’s holding up to the task once Plex worked out the bugs that would kill the service on the PC after running a channel for awhile. Now that Plex will strip commercials I’ll give it a whirl and see how well it does in comparison to MCE after recording.

    • McGregorMX

      I’d be interested in this too. I just started using MCEBuddy (yesterday), but haven’t committed to paying for it yet, since I’m also testing the plex functionality to replace my Mediaportal setup. If plex will do this without me needing to purchase MCEBuddy, then I’ll opt to pay for the lifetime membership vs the monthly to test it out. The other perk is that I will be able to eliminate HTPC’s and replace them with devices like a roku or chromecast. Currently running comskip with Mediaportal, and I prefer the cut marking instead of actually removing the content and re-encoding it to a new file.

      • CordCutting2017

        MCE has both options of either cut or mark. They also convert from a mp2 to mp4 which reduces the space by 75% once converted since your typical 1 hour MP2 is about 6GB it drops it down to 1.25-1.5GB depending on the commercial content it’s clipping. The $30 for MCE is a drop in the bucket and it automatically runs in the background if you set it up to do so. I push the timer out 2 hours after the end of the show to accommodate recordings after the first show to keep the resources lower. Plex pass though gives you things like DVR and now live viewing with DVR functions. I let Plex do its thing last night and it seemed to do a good job. I didn’t catch it while it was doing it though to look at the CPU utilization. Plex has come a long way in just the past 6 months with features and functions. They were doing a pass sale for awhile for $120 instead of the $150.

        Also, MCE is so slow when you haven’t purchased it where it takes an hour or two to convert a file. When you purchase it the speed picks up to 1/2 hour to hour for a 30 minute show between cutting and converting a show. If you do get it make sure to dig into the deeper settings and select retain audio to keep any 5.1 instead of dropping it to stereo. There’s just a ton of options in there to make your optimal file. Another perk of the MP4 is it doesn’t tax your CPU on playback for transcoding which is nice if you want to watch something while it’s converting other files in the background.

      • CordCutting2017

        So, I finally caught Plex processing something. It’s hard to do since it almost does it inline while recording even though it says it’s a post script. It’s using ComSkip for the commercials and it seems like it’s tagging them as the program records looking through the .txt’s it’s creating while in the .grab folder. Most 30-60 minute shows seem to process fairly quickly. CPU is sitting around 75% use while processing the commercials out and writing back to the disk. The process shows up as “Plex Commercial Skipper” vs MCE shows up as ffmpeg / handbrake.

        I found letting Plex do ComSkip and then coming back with MCE to remux things to MP4 moves quite quickly. 30m shows after Plex now convert in about 10m with MCE.

        • McGregorMX

          Yeah, MCE isn’t bad, and $30 definitely isn’t that much for a product that does what it does.

          I tried the commercial skip in plex on some random shows, and it worked well, but didn’t do anything more than the Comskip setup I already have. At the moment I have put a hold on the Plex and MCEBuddy options, as my current setup is still up to the task. While Plex does about 95% of what I want it to do, it doesn’t do the big thing I need it to do, which is stream live to a chromecast.

          My goal is to eliminate HTPCs around my house (even though they are pretty low power ~15 watts each), and replace them all with Chromecast devices (which each TV already has connected as well). The tech is coming along, so I don’t think it’ll be too long before I’m back to Plex. I’ve looked at Roku, and that would be a solution, but my wife is pretty sold on only needing to use her phone for everything (since she is glued to it 24/7), and I already own the Chromecast devices, and the CFO rarely approves my computer purchases :D, as she already thinks I have too many.

          • CordCutting2017

            I can’t speak to Chromecast but, if you have the Plex app on it or a Roku the new features in the last month or two with Plex Pass upgrade allow you to now stream live from your Plex server like a Tivo-esque experience w/o the Grid Guide but, you still get a drop down that shows the thumbnail for each show with the channel listed. It seems they worked out he kinks of the app crashing if you’re watching through your server for an extended period of time. There are still some funny things that happen periodically with it but, considering they’ve only had DVR functions for less than a year it’s coming along nicely.

          • McGregorMX

            I agree that it’s coming along nicely. I’m probably going to end up with a Roku anyway, so I’ll give it an honest try and see if it can replace my existing system. I’ll miss a few features of mediaportal (namely the tv guide), but I think it’ll function well enough that once it’s setup, it’ll work as expected, and with a few perks (like not having to pay for epg data).

          • CordCutting2017

            When you’re on your PC there’s an EPG for finding shows to setup for a “season pass” like Tivo does where it’s one click and done for the title. The Plex Pass gives you lifetime access to the EPG and DVR functions and anything else they’ve been adding over the years. It’s become quite robust in comparison to just an app to share your media locally on your network. With it being compatible with multiple tuners now you wouldn’t be paying for a subscription to something like HDHR or Tablo or anyone else as long as the tuner shows up in the Plex DVR page. Even the older Connect hdhr3 works with it when initially they said it wouldn’t. hdhr3 takes a bit of time to scan the channels compared to the hdhr4 that scans pretty quick. Now they release a 4 tuner in 1 box quattro that’s @ Best Buy anywhere from $99-$149 depending on the sale. Of course the player / app is the key to bringing it to the screen although there’s a cast option within the server page as well. Just tested and that seems a bit buggy and crashed the app on the Roku….

  • Andy Munro

    Make sure your Plex Pass Server is switched to Beta and your Plex version will update automatically. It works like a charm and is a nail in the coffin for TiVo as it eliminates the commercials, no need to press any buttons when the commercials start. Brilliant and a great Christmas gift from Plex.

  • Roger Galliett

    I prefer Media Center and comskip combo. A bit of a pain to set up, but it doesn’t change your video files – it just notes where it THINKS the commercials are. Then it skips those commercial segments during playback. I’m surprised Plex doesn’t do the same thing. Commercial skipping isn’t foolproof.

    • McGregorMX

      I use a similar combo as well; I wish plex would just read the files that already have these skip points in them, as well as allow us to specify an application for generating the content from their recordings.

    • Reggie Suplido

      Plex is actually using ComSkip as well.

  • timnelsonic

    I just tried this out for the first time. It did a great job on the show I tested. At each commercial break, a single commercial flashed on the screen for a fraction of a second, so I could tell where the commercials should have been. It took the 30 minute show down to 19 minutes. Very nice. Hopefully this works well across different shows. I’ll try to post back with an update after I let this run for a while.

  • Keith Foster

    Well it works pretty well. I wasn’t a big fan of using MCE Buddy and com skip. I would like to see some ability to transcode to a smaller file size, but I can do that with handbreak easily. Just want a automatic way to do it.