Dish Network announced on May 10 its newest feature for its Hopper DVRs, called Auto Hop, which will automatically skip over commercials of recorded shows. For the viewer, it is considered the “Holy Grail of television watchers,” according to an article by The Consumerist, but for the networks it appears to be a problematic issue.
NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert told the Los Angeles Times during a conference call announcing its upcoming prime-time schedule that he considers the new device an attack on television networks’ eco-system and that he is “not for it.”
Skipping over commercials has been a popular trend for television watchers since the creation of the DVR, but this new device allows consumers to not have to worry about using the fast forward button. According to The Wall Street Journal, the device, made available for Dish Networks’ approximately 14 million subscribers, currently only skips commercials on NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC.
The dish provider should anticipate lawsuits from the networks. Networks won a lawsuit against a similar product, Replay TV, several years ago citing copyright infringement, according to the LA Times piece.
If the Auto Hop is forced out over lawsuits, Dish Network subscribers will simply have to fast-forward through commercials like the rest of the DVR users.
-Dustin Bass, @dbass_cmn