How to Automatically Mute TV Commercials

Let’s be honest: hardly anybody likes TV commercials. To make things worse, their volume is usually higher than the rest of the program on TV. Even when the law that restricts their overly high volume went into effect, TV service providers would just equally reduce the volume of both programs and commercials, leaving commercials at a higher volume still.

That said, you might be asking yourself if there is any way to automatically mute these ear intruders. Stay with us to see the answer.

Bearing the Bad News

Unfortunately, muting commercials is such a controversial matter that nobody has even attempted to make it a reality these days. Copyright infringement claims are prevalent and real, which is very likely associated with the current commercial-muting situation.

TV service providers and studios have successfully sued and received court injunctions for copyright infringements, and they can take anyone that attempts to change their content to court. Muting commercials could constitute such an unlawful alteration.

Most of the solutions are homemade and meant for private use, while others have long been discontinued. Still, it’s worth taking a look at these projects to show you what worked and how we hope it may look like in the future. Also, if you’re tech-savvy, you might be even able to replicate some of the ideas shown here. (Just remember to share with the community.)

Bearing the Bad News

MuteMagic

One of the most famous discontinued solutions to TV commercials is MuteMagic. This device cost only $40 at the time and was simple to set up. All you had to do was connect it to the TV and let it do its work. It used infrared technology to send a command and mute the sound system.

It used to work exclusively in North America and was sold only in the US and Canada because NTSC was the only supported broadcasting system. Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly), the users were very satisfied, hailing it as an excellent product despite not being accurate 100% of the time.

Mutr

Another product that looked very promising was supposed to be called Mutr, but unlike MuteMagic, it never saw the light of day. This device was announced in 2017 with a few promotional and showcase videos on YouTube, but there has been no real update since then. Even its website hasn’t been updated all this while.

According to the people behind Mutr, it can identify the start of a commercial break by sensing the differences between it and the actual program. It’d then send a command to the audio output device to either change the channel or mute. It’s supposed to come with an infrared port, an Ethernet input, and a Wi-Fi antenna.

Kommercial Killer

There were multiple projects made using Raspberry Pi and Arduino, the most popular small computing platforms. One of these is called the Kommercial Killer. It’s a small portable device that can automatically mute a TV, as well as unmute it, from the other side of the house.

Its main advantage was not having to use the infrared remote control system that most TVs have, or any sort of wiring in general. Instead of that, it can learn a TV’s mute command, including that of new TVs. The default unmute interval of three minutes is set to the average duration of a commercial break. However, this can be configured.

The KK requires three different modules: a UHF radio receiver, an infrared module, and an Arduino Trinket board for the time interval of the commercial break.

Kommercial Killer

Trying to Avoid Inconveniences

If you like tinkering with technology and interesting new devices, consider trying to make a device that works on Arduino or Raspberry Pi, as people have tasted success with these cheap microcomputers in the past. Otherwise, it might be best to wait and see if somebody might come up with more commercial-muting devices, or maybe even apps, although it’s not very likely. Also, cutting the cord is popular for a reason, and one of them is avoiding good-for-nothing ads.

Have you considered cutting the cord yet? Do you think someone might come up with a commercial muter despite the copyright issues? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “How to Automatically Mute TV Commercials”

Avatar Marshall Nye Cargill says:
When original cable tv started no commercials. You bought cable. No commercials. Now commercials. Netflix and Amazon will succumb.
Avatar Todd Trainor says:
What if instead of muting it, it just lowered the volume to a reasonable level. Would this avoid the infringement problems?
Avatar XASHS says:
I'm not a tech person but how about something that changed the channel to a predetermined channel, ie instrumental music for me, for the duration of the commercial?

Would that potentially nullify the infringement problems? 

I would like to see responses to this.

Avatar XASHS says:
I’m not a tech person but how about something that changed the channel to a predetermined channel, ie instrumental music for me, for the duration of the commercial?

Would that potentially nullify the infringement problems?

I would like to see responses to this.

Avatar Bjorgen Eatinger says:
Exactly my thoughts! I opened the article because it alluded to being for techies.
Avatar Nick says:
Back in ? The 1970,s? Magnavox offered this exact function! It lasted for only a few model runs then was NLA… it worked off of the AVC circuit.
Avatar Dave says:
It seems to me that someone could develop an artificial intelligence program that learns when you mute commercials and when those commercial come on it would automatically mute those commercials. In my area they seem to be doing sandwich commercials, where they repeat the exactly the first commercial within the same commercial break. I realize this would take a little effort but so many commercials are repeated that it maybe worth the effort.
Avatar charlie says:
Hi Dave, I think you’re on to something, I don’t know how to program in AI yet but I’ve seen its capabilities and for sure it could do this possibly running on or though a Raspberry Pi although I really don’t think it can handle it, it could run though it like an interface. I am like you, I’m Forking hate commercials and find them very invasive. It’s unfair to the end user, we pay for programming not commercials. I see very high waste of money on marketing.
Avatar Daneey says:
The solution is simple. Don’t watch cable TV. Watch only Amazon or Netflix or some other type of media where there are no commercials. I’m so done with commericals. And these imbeciles that sue over people muting TV commericals are absurd. It’s an auditory insult to millions of people to hear these obnoxious commericals. We should sue them for violating our right to enjoy a peaceful time in our own homes without the undue interference of commercials. We should be able to choose if we want to hear commericals, not be forced to listen to their garbage.
Avatar Jay says:
Sure would be nice to silence these loud commercials they wake up my close neighbors and they are not happy. Please someone make this available before its too late
Avatar Fang says:
Originally we paid for cable TV because it didn’t have commercials. Netflix and Amazon will wind up loading on the commercials eventually.
Avatar j says:
It should be possible to develop external speaker system having electronic circuit with some storage facility to sense music and tone of ads and mute ads.
Avatar Ed says:
A simple device is to build a small audio switch that has a high audio power level activation. Most ads have heavy companding, and have a very high power compared to the programs. The device would not activate on regular audio power levels…only companed high level ads audio. It would work automatically. I am in the process of building one now. Any interest?
Avatar George says:
Was wondering, great article btw.
Can you imagine how much better commercials would be if you didn’t need to listen to get your attention, not sure we don’t already have the right to silence in our homes…Geo
PS…While your at it can you figure out when FREE became a 4 letter word, as advertised all over the internet, these days…lol
Avatar Milo Hull says:
I would be interested in anything that would work

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