Peekabo Streaming Video

by Joseph Kwon in


One of my more questionable characteristics, which I totally own up to, is my stamina for watching copious amounts of television and movies. I never met a good or bad movie I wouldn't watch. Probably my low point came when during law school final exams, my roommate and I watched all of Leprechaun 3, which is a really, really, really bad movie.

So when DVR was introduced it was love at first sight. And streaming services like Netflix and HBO Now are right up my alley. One downside to these streaming services and DVR is that you get so used to not having commercials or being able to Fast Forward (or as Adrian Monk says, "picture go fast") through them that you have a lot less patience with commercials.

I recently binge-watched the first season of Mr. Robot on the USA app. It wasn't available anywhere else and each episode has several commercials throughout. It's free so I can't complain too much about the presence of the commercials, but it seems like they rotate the same two or three commercials all the time and you can't skip them.

My first solution was to simply look away while the commercial plays. This wasn't great because now I felt like I was getting subliminal audio messages. Then I decided to also unplug my headphones. The problem with this approach is that sometimes I lost track of how much time had passed and it would be a pain to backtrack to the right point right after the commercial. Surely there is a better method.

What I ended up discovering is that Apple devices have unintentionally provided the perfect EZPZ commercial neutralizer. So now when the commercial starts, you can just mute the volume and swipe up from the bottom of the iPhone to activate Control Center. What you end up seeing during the commercial is a bunch of silhouettes in the background.

For example, this is a frequently advertised men's product.

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This is one for a U.S. cell phone. Can you tell which one by the color at the bottom?

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You can usually tell when the show is starting again so at that point, you just swipe down, turn up the volume, and voila, a more EZPZ way to skip through commercials!

Now what if you have terrible timing? Or can't stand the uncertainty? This is where the peekaboo comes in. If you pull down slowly, just a bit, you'll see the edge of the screen, which will give you a better indication of whether the show has started or not. 

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There's nothing wrong with watching the commercials and their existence supports the content. But as for me, I can't stand being subjected to the same lame and sometimes, targeted commercials over and over again. Great for the marketers, not so much for me. So next time you want to avoid seeing something on your screen, try the peekabo technique.

Happy watching!

Next post next Saturday, 6:30 a.m.