Dish’s Ad-Skipping DVR Named ‘Best of Show’ at CEA Event28 Jun, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Distinction comes despite Dish's ongoing litigation with media companies over the technology
Dish Network’s new “Hopper” high-definition DVR, which includes the controversial AutoHop ad-skipping technology for recorded network primetime programming, received the Best of Show award at the Consumer Electronics Association’s Line Shows in New York.
The official recognition by the CEA is noteworthy considering AutoHop is at the center of a media and legal maelstrom. Fox, CBS and NBC Universal separately have filed lawsuits against Dish contending the technology violates content copyrights and carriage agreements, among other alleged affronts to the TV ecosystem. Dish, in turn, countersued the networks claiming they conspired to deny the satellite TV operator from marketing Hopper to consumers, among other charges.
AutoHop only skips ads on recorded — not live — primetime network programming.
Once enabled, the PrimeTime Anytime feature on the Hopper stores shows for eight days after initial broadcast. A viewer can watch a show with AutoHop starting at 1 a.m. EST, after a show has been recorded. Prior to that, the Hopper’s 30-second “hop forward” feature continues to work for same-day viewing of recorded shows.
The Hopper’s on-demand capabilities also give subscribers access to Dish’s Blockbuster @Home platform, which for $10 per month, makes available thousands of movies and TV shows for streaming to the TV and select connected devices.
“The Hopper embodies the evolving nature of innovation in technology and new ideas to deliver a better experience to TV viewers,” Dish CEO Joseph Clayton said in a statement. “PrimeTime Anytime is a consumer-enabled feature that is a great way to showcase network content. AutoHop is an extension of what consumers already do — skip commercials on shows they record.”
In a shrewd move, Dish founder and chairman Charlie Ergen this week told a congressional panel the AutoHop feature allows parents to shield their kids from commercials for junk food and alcohol — the former a contributing factor in rising obesity and diabetes among children. In prepared comments for the Future of Video hearing before federal lawmakers, Ergen said AutoHop empowers the consumer.
“Dish has done nothing more than improve upon existing, legally-accepted and widely available technologies that give consumers the ability to record their television shows for playback at a more convenient time, when they are able to fast-forward through or skip over commercials,” Ergen said.