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Amazon testing commercial skip feature for Fire TV Recast device: report

Amazon is quietly testing a new feature that automatically skips commercials that appear on over-the-air television programs recorded on its Fire TV Recast streaming devices, according to a report.

The feature started rolling out to a handful of users ahead of an event where Amazon is expected to announce new devices.

The new feature was first reported by Cord Cutter News on Thursday. Amazon has not formally announced a commercial skip feature, and user feedback suggests it is only available to a handful of Amazon customers at the moment.

The Fire TV Recast offers streaming TV services from Amazon and other third parties like Netflix and Hulu along with the ability to record over-the-air programming from broadcast networks like local NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox stations. The $229 device is aimed at households that have ditched traditional cable in favor of free broadcast TV coupled with supplemental streaming services.

On Wednesday, the Fire TV Recast was one of several Amazon-manufactured streaming devices on sale. Companies like occasionally sell hardware at discounts shortly before rolling out new items, though some technology blogs have speculated Amazon is unlikely to roll out new TV devices.

Amazon’s new hardware event is scheduled for September 25.

Amazon is not the first company to experiment with a commercial skip feature for TV programs: Earlier this year, commercial skipping was added to DVR devices manufactured by Tablo.

In 2012, satellite TV provider Dish Network added a commercial skip feature called AutoHop to its Hopper and Joey lines of set-top boxes. Dish was sued by Fox Broadcasting a short time later; the two sides settled in 2015 with an agreement that Dish would not activate the feature for shows recorded on Fox stations until seven days after they air.