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CES Names Dish Hopper DVR Co-Winner of ‘Best of Show’

31 Jan, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

International CE trade show severs ties with CBS Corp. after it nixes satellite TV operator’s DVR from consideration

In a defiant move, the International Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 31 added Dish Network’s controversial Hopper digital video recorder as co-winner of “Best of Show” with the Razer Edge gaming tablet.

The Hopper with Sling Whole-Home HD DVR features AutoHop, a technology that allows users to automatically skip TV commercials on recorded primetime programming.

That feature is at the center of ongoing litigation between Dish and broadcasters, including CBS.

Regardless, the DVR was originally named a finalist and prohibitive favorite for the annual award determined by the editors of CNET.com, which is owned by CBS. At the eleventh hour, CBS ordered the Hopper removed from the competition — a move that resulted in CNET editor Greg Sandoval resigning in protest.

“The CNET editorial team identified the Hopper Sling as the most innovative product of the show, and we couldn’t agree more,” said Karen Chupka, SVP of events and conferences for CEA. “The Hopper with Sling and the Razer Edge both represent the best of the exciting, innovative technology introduced at the 2013 CES. We are pleased to recognize both products as Best of Show.”

Meanwhile, the Consumer Electronics Association, which runs CES, said it supports Dish in the ongoing litigation. CEO Gary Shapiro, in a statement, said the organization was “shocked” that the “Tiffany” network would bar all its reporters from favorably describing classes of technology it doesn’t like.

“We believe that the Dish Hopper DVR is fully covered by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios Inc.,” Shapiro said. “The simple fact [of] making television easier to watch is not against the law. It is simply pro-innovation and pro-consumer.”

As a result, CEA said is severing ties with both CBS and CNET as CES partners. It said it would begin searching for a new partner to run the “Best of CES” awards program.

“We are concerned the new review policy will have a negative impact on our brand should we continue the awards relationship as currently constructed,” Chupka said. “We look forward to receiving new ideas to recognize the ‘best of the best’ products introduced at CES.”

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