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Auto Hop, which was added last month to Dish's new Hopper HD DVR, allows viewers to watch the playback of a broadcast network show without ever seeing the commercials. The networks, sans ABC, are suing Dish over the ad-zapper, claiming it violates their copyright and licensing agreements. Dish has filed a countersuit and a court hearing on the dispute is scheduled for next month.
Addressing a congressional subcommittee Thursday, Michael Petricone, the CEA's senior vice president for government affairs, said the 'Auto Hop' is a "pro-consumer advancement that allows us all to fast-forward through commercials and makes time-shifting viewing even easier. Broadcast networks are raising concerns over this new, compelling technology -- just as they did when our industry introduced the Betamax, the TiVo and other video recording technologies. We've seen this show before."
Petricone's remarks were reported by Twice Magazine.
Of course, this is not the first time that the CEA has taken on the broadcast networks and its trade group, the National Association of Broadcasters. The two groups have been battling recently over several issues, including the sale of spectrum.
Auto Hop works with the Dish Hopper's 'PrimeTime Anytime' network recordings. The Hopper automatically records all primetime shows on ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS. Unlike the Fast Forward button on a DVR, Auto Hop automatically removes the commercial without the viewer doing a thing.
Update: The CEA this week also issued its 'Best of Show' award to the Auto Hop at the group's 'Line Show' In New York.
Click to see TVPredictions.com's exclusive consumer survey on the Auto Hop.
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