Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Trick Play

CIMM's Set-Top Box Data Lexicon is a compilation of terms and definitions associated with Set-Top Box data and its measurement. This Word-A-Week column highlights a term and definition from the Lexicon to help forge a common language for Set-Top-Box data usage and expedite the roll-out of the data for its many industry applications.

No discussion of DVRs would be complete (The PVR and DVR; DVRs of All Types) without a mention of its Trick Play capability. Just like a video recorder of old, DVRs enable the viewer to choose the time to view regardless of the television schedule. The difference now is in the storage capability and in the ease of use of the DVR.

Here are a few terms and definitions regarding Trick Play and its capabilities:

Trick Play



CIMM DEFINITION : A term used to describe the use of DVR time shifted viewing or On-Demand with a TV Remote Control device. Features include fast forward, rewind and pause.

NOTE - DVR metrics need to be decided. According to Kantar these data are not currently available in the U.S. but are available in the U.K. Rentrak says that it depends on the operator and the device. Some operators have trick mode data available in various forms (some more detailed than others) and Rentrak has been measuring multiple forms of these data from millions of Set-Top Boxes for years.

NOTE - The issue of measurement with trick modes needs further definition.  For example, how many times do you count an impression within a session when it has been viewed more than once due to rewinds? (Source: Invidi) 

Trick Mode

See also: Trick Play

CIMM DEFINITION : Another term for trick play - when the viewer is involved in using the features of the DVR.

Fast Forward

See also: Trick Play

CIMM DEFINITION : One trick play mode of the DVR or PVR or TIVO which speeds up the video, often through commercials as part of commercial avoidance.

2: Allows viewer to go ahead to later portion of programming; image remains on screen throughout.

NOTE - If viewed in the fast-forward mode, is there any credit given to the network or program for commercial viewing? Some studies indicate that viewers still retain some amount of ad information while viewing in the fast forward mode. 


CIMM DEFINITION : Allows viewer to go back to earlier portion of programming; image remains on screen throughout.  


See also: Trick Play

CIMM DEFINITION : The act of changing channels rapidly to avoid viewing commercials. 

NOTE - TIVO measures channel changing during commercial spots.



See also: Trick Play, Fast Forward

CIMM DEFINITION : The act of fast forwarding through a commercial.

2 : Percentage of total and/or target households that fast forwarded during the commercial. (Source: TRA)


Please refer to the CIMM Lexicon online at for additional information on these and other terms.

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