ＣＭカット機種、生産中止へ…民放批判に配慮(読売新聞) [Japanese language article]: Starting this spring, Japanese manufacturers will cease producing broadcast recording devices which auto-skip commercials. This is apparently due to pressure from an alliance of commercial broadcasters. Once again, consumer-facing features are removed by corporate interests. Sorry, wait, who is paying for these devices? The users, right? This consortium isn't offering to buy my next HDD recorder, is it?
This technology has been in place since 1990. When I lived in Kyoto in 1994, my used (salvaged from the curb junk) VHS deck had auto-skip. It with the feature enabled, it would fast-forward through the break, and stop with less than 2 seconds of real-time gap before resuming play of the desirable content. It seemed like magic at the time.