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‘Commercial Break’ App Now Monitors Multiple Live Events

Aristarchos Ltd., the maker of an ad-skipping app that debuted in beta form in July for iOS devices, has latched on a new “Live Events” feature tailored for sports programming that enables users to follow multiple live TV broadcasts and receive alerts when commercial breaks start and stop. The new feature also lets users set up the app to monitor those live TV events in advance.

Once the events are set up, the app automatically monitors them for commercial breaks, alerts users when those breaks start and stop, and ceases monitoring when the events are over. The company claims its app is positioned to support most nationally televised NFL, Major League Baseball and NCAA football games this season (save for any that are subject to blackout rules).

“Ideally, every fan would have a wall of TVs tuned in to every game,” said Commercial Break co-founder and CEO Haim Kairy, in a statement. “But since that is not a reality for most people, Commercial Break helps sports fans get the most out of their cable package by allowing them to spend less time watching commercials and more time watching premium live action.”

In tandem with the launch of the new feature, Aristarchos also introduced an Android version of the Commercial Break app. The company would not say how many times its app has been downloaded so far.

The startup’s app currently monitors the New York broadcast TV feeds of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, as well as the national cable feeds of ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, and USA. The company plans to expand its local broadcast monitoring capabilities to Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco  by the end of the year.

Its underlying platform uses proprietary algorithms to monitor the video and audio of TV feeds (at 40 times a second), searching for scene cuts and cues that help to distinguish normal programming and the commercials.

Although Commercial Break is starting off as an app, the company envisions a future in which its technology is integrated in set-top boxes and cloud DVR services.