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The newspaper writes that the feature will be added to Dish's new Hopper HD DVR and will work only with the set-top's 'PrimeTime Anytime' recordings. (The Hopper automatically records all primetime shows on ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS.)
Plus, the feature will not be activated on the primetime shows until 1 a.m. after their initial airing and it won't work on local news or sporting events.
However, when it's working, USA Today says a kangaroo icon will appear on the show's artwork in the HD DVR's menu and you will get an on-screen prompt. If you choose to watch the show without the commercials, the newspaper says the recorded playback "seamlessly" eliminates the ads.
The feature is likely to upset network executives who have been concerned about DVR ad-skipping since the technology's introduction in the marketplace more than a decade ago. But a Dish executive tells USA Today that his company is legally allowed to offer Auto Hop because no commercials are actually deleted from the recorded show. The viewer can go back and watch the show with the commercials if he or she chooses.
Of course, the traditional HD DVR allows you to manually skip commercials by hitting the Fast Forward button but the Auto Hop does the work for you.
USA Today writes that when a commercial is skipped during an Auto Hop playback, the kangaroo icon appears and "you'll see a brief flash of a commercial." Edward Baig, the USA Today writer who tested the feature, says the flash and icon did not "faze" him. He added that Auto Hop is a "cool feature" that could help Dish lure new customers and keep old ones.
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