Dish Network Enables Commercial Skipping

Dish Network is offering customers a DVR that will skip commercials. I'm sure their content providers are thrilled.

Dish Network is offering customers a DVR that will skip commercials.

Engadget (“Dish Network adds ‘Auto Hop’ commercial skipping feature to its Hopper DVRs“):

 One of the main features when Dish Network unveiled its Hopper and Joey multiroom DVRs at CES was PrimeTime Anytime, a setting that archives three hours of network programming, every night on the four main stations for a week and now it’s upping the ante by adding commercial skipping to the mix. While automated commercial skipping as an out of the box feature went out from most DVRs withReplayTV, the new Auto Hop feature edits out the breaks from those PrimeTime AnyTime recordings starting at 1 AM that night. While it’s still been possible on other platforms like Windows Media Center, Sage TV and MythTV with third-party add-ons (we can show you how on Media Center) this requires pushing just one button. So, assuming our glowing review and the knowledge that you’d never miss another primetime show wasn’t enough to make the switch, is saving a few minutes watching those shows on DVR later pushing you towards the (potentially Mad Men-less) edge?

One would think that the television networks, who rely on advertising sales not only for their profits but to even pay their operating costs, would be somewhat less than thrilled about this development. Indeed, I’m shocked that their contracts with Dish and other distributors don’t specifically prohibit this sort of thing.

CNET’s David Carnoy agrees:

We have a feeling network executives won’t be too thrilled with this development (note: CNET is owned by CBS). It appears that Dish is circumventing the rules for stripping out commercials from content by making the feature something the user has to manually enable (it’s not a default setting) and only allowing “auto” skipping a day after shows air.

But Gizmodo’s Casey Chan is stoked:

That’s a lot better than having to fast forward and wait and accidentally play and then rewind and slow motion and then play again when manually trying to skip the commercials. From the sounds of it, Dish Network will essentially let you watch your favorite TV shows commercial free. Of course, this doesn’t work for every channel, the all commercial skipping feature works in tandem with Dish Network’s Primetime Anywhere (which automatically records primetime HD programs on NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX), so you’ll only be able to do the commercial skipping with network TV. Still, getting rid of commercials will always be fine by me.

As a consumer who watches pretty much all programming via DVR-delay–breaking news and live sports being the only real exceptions–I don’t disagree. But the TV networks and their distribution networks have a symbiotic relationship. One adopting a business model that completely undermines the other’s is baffling.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, Quick Takes, Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kit says:

    But the TV networks and their distribution networks have a symbiotic relationship. One adopting a business model that completely undermines the other’s is baffling.

    Baffling? Only if one thinks that long-term vision should trump short-term profit. Knowing where a man stands on this must be a pretty strong indicator of which party he supports.