On May 18th, 2012 Dish Network posted on their blog a new technology for their DISH DVR, the Hopper that allows customers to skip commercials. Yes, commercial free viewing has been innovated for the end consumer to legally and easily skip TV commercials in their own home. DISH TV calls the new service Auto Hop.
Dish TV even created a hashtag on the @dish TV Twitter Account that is #ADFreeTV. There was also a popular set of Boston Guys videos launched on Dish’s Facebook page celebrating the new ad free TV push by the Auto Hop technology from Dish’s Hopper DVR. You can watch one of the latest videos here on the Dish Network Facebook page.
The new ad skipping technology is introduced with the entire product from Dish TV on their blog with the following information: “As a leader in TV technology, DISH® once again has the consumer’s needs in mind with their latest feature, Auto Hop™ . Auto Hop allows customers to watch commercial-free TV for most programming recorded with the PrimeTime Anytime™ feature found on DISH’s leading DVR, the Hopper.” The TV commercial skipping technology is mentioned again when they say, “Auto Hop which allows customers to watch commercial-free TV for most shows recorded with PrimeTime Anytime™.”
While customers seem to be thrilled with skipping commercials from Primetime television the networks are obviously not happy. According to Hollywood Reporter three of the big networks, FOX, CBS & NBC Universal have sued Dish Network for the new channel skipping technology, AutoHop.
The lawsuit filed by FOX Broadcasting Company, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp and Fox Television Holdings, Inc was a demand for jury trial. In the number two bullent point from the filing it states: “Recently, DISH in violation of the copyright laws and its license agreement with FOX – launched its own bootleg broadcast video-on-demand service called PrimeTime Anytime that is available to top-tier DISH subscribers who lease the Hopper set top box from DISH. Once enabled, PrimeTime Anytime makes an unauthorized copy of the entire primetime broadcast schedule for all for major networks every night. DISH advertises this unauthorized library, which is available for eight days and includes approximately 100 hours of programming, as providing “on demand access” to that programming. To make matters worse, DISH operates its bootleg PrimeTime Anytime service so that the copies it makes are viewable commercial free.” In the previous statement Fox makes the point that, “Commercial advertising is vital to broadcast television, as the robust choices and quality of primetime programming, including such hit shows as FOX’s Glee, The Simpsons, Bones, and Touch, are possible only because they are supported by the advertising revenues generated from television commercials.”
The other two big networks had similar arguments for why DISH TV shouldn’t be allowed to copy their shows and offer them without commercials. NBCUniversal filed for all of NBC’s properties and made the following statement, “NBC has filed suit against this unlawful service in order to keep over-the-air broadcast television a strong competitor. Advertising generates the revenue that makes it possible for local broadcast stations and national broadcast networks to pay for the creation of the news, sports and entertainment programming that are the hallmark of American broadcasting. Dish simply does not have the authority to tamper with the ads from broadcast replays on a wholesale basis for its own economic and commercial advantage.”
The next to file a lawsuit against Dish Network’s Hopper DVR system was CBS. CBS said that, “This service takes existing network content and modifies it in a manner that is unauthorized and illegal. We believe this is a clear violation of copyright law and we intend to stop it.”
Either way this battle will be fought in court while other companies that license the same content for redistribution watch closely. Services like Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s Prime video services could end up creating commercial skipping technologies for PrimeTime streams if DISH somehow wins this lawsuit.
While the battle rolls on Twitter mentions of #AdFreeTV go almost viral as customers share videos, contests and their love for the new service:
— Amy LYNN Shulkusky (@amyshulk) May 20, 2012
— Lundi Cavernelis (@Lundi_Khoisan) May 17, 2012
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) May 17, 2012
Dish Network’s ‘Auto-Hop’ Doesn’t Skip Commercials, It Removes Them completely
Dish Network’s Auto-Hop isn’t a 30-sec skip or a fast-forward. It’s more like a feature that removes the commercials entirely. The only catch: viewers can skip the ads starting at 1 a.m. the day after initial airing.