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Dish AutoHop vs Networks Commercial Skipping Discussion


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#151 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 06:43 PM

I don't see them saying they have no value, only that the viewer should be able to choose whether to watch them or not. I choose not to, even without a 'spensive 'Roo contraption.


Users can already choose not to watch commercials by DVRing and skipping them OR by closing their eyes or getting up and going to the bathroom.

The AutoHop feature, however, is different since it lets the user press a button once and skip all commercials for the duration of that program without further interaction.

Using the Manual skipping method means you actually still watch snippets of commercials in order to find where to start watching your program again... whereas AutoHop ensures you see none of the commercials.

That's why AutoHop is different and why the networks are complaining. Nobody can make you watch commercials, but until now there was no automated way to easily skip all of the commercials with one press of a button.

IF this feature wins, customers might be temporarily happy... but networks will not be able to sell commercials anymore and then the cost of programming (and channels) will go up OR those channels and programs will go away.

I don't think people understand just how much of the programming they like exists because of commercial revenue to the networks.

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#152 OFFLINE   jdskycaster

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:13 PM

IF this feature wins, customers might be temporarily happy... but networks will not be able to sell commercials anymore and then the cost of programming (and channels) will go up OR those channels and programs will go away.

I don't think people understand just how much of the programming they like exists because of commercial revenue to the networks.


You are trying to say that time shifting and using the skip button is somehow different but fundamentally it is not. In the end you are still skipping the ad. I am sure advertisers do think in terms of how effective their ad is based on a consumer viewing 1 or 2 seconds of it:rolleyes:

The argument that ad revenues will be lost forever was already put forth and proven wrong when the DVR first hit the streets and became wildly popular. The truth is it (VCR,DVR,TIVO etc) has had ZERO effect on ad revenues.

#153 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

And the rest join the fray. NBC and CBS file suits and ABC is probably just waiting until tomorrow to get headlines.

http://www.hollywood...sue-dish-329287

#154 OFFLINE   cypherx

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:10 PM

Ugh, just knew this was going to happen. If the networks win, wouldn't that make ad block plugins for web browsers illegal?

Interesting the networks use terminology like copyright violation, unlawful, unauthorized modification, etc...

Thing is nothing is modified. AFAIK the transport stream is copied bit for bit from whats uplinked by the networks. Copyright violation? That would make all DVR's illegal. Unauthorized modification? To what? The end user makes a conscious decision to turn the feature on, and even then they can't use it until the next day. All it does is automate the 30skip / FF or whatever I would be normally doing on DirecTV, Comcast, or whoever.

Oh and what about the retrans fee's that keep going up every single year?

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#155 OFFLINE   Mike Bertelson

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:31 PM

IMHO, this is just plain bad for the subscriber. If they can't show their commercials on a particular service providers DVR then they charge that providers more to carry their channels...higher bills for us. I don't like where this is going.

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#156 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:40 PM

Ugh, just knew this was going to happen. If the networks win, wouldn't that make ad block plugins for web browsers illegal?

Interesting the networks use terminology like copyright violation, unlawful, unauthorized modification, etc...

Thing is nothing is modified. AFAIK the transport stream is copied bit for bit from whats uplinked by the networks. Copyright violation? That would make all DVR's illegal. Unauthorized modification? To what? The end user makes a conscious decision to turn the feature on, and even then they can't use it until the next day. All it does is automate the 30skip / FF or whatever I would be normally doing on DirecTV, Comcast, or whoever.

Oh and what about the retrans fee's that keep going up every single year?


It would be a large jump to ad blockers so I wouldn't worry about that plus this is going to take years to resolve (See Tivo vs Echostar).

I would be more concerned with other things. Networks get an injunction to stop autoskip, PTAT, Sling, they pull services completely, or they refuse to allow new contracts to take place during this litigation. While those are extremes they're certainly not FUD at this time.

#157 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:18 PM

You are trying to say that time shifting and using the skip button is somehow different but fundamentally it is not. In the end you are still skipping the ad. I am sure advertisers do think in terms of how effective their ad is based on a consumer viewing 1 or 2 seconds of it:rolleyes:

The argument that ad revenues will be lost forever was already put forth and proven wrong when the DVR first hit the streets and became wildly popular. The truth is it (VCR,DVR,TIVO etc) has had ZERO effect on ad revenues.


You and many others keep missing the difference.

There's a huge difference between you throwing away junk mail and your mailman not delivering it to you in the first place!

You recording and skipping commercials manually is no different than using the bathroom or going to get a snack. This is largely why the DVR and trick play features won out because they can't make you watch anything you don't want to watch.

AutoHop is a whole new ball of wax. AutoHop gives you the ability to disable all commercials in a given program with the press of one button.

Now... they don't know whether or not I watch any commercials ever... but with AutoHop they know I don't even have a chance.

If you were an advertiser, how much money would you pay for an ad that you know people aren't watching because they can disable commercials entirely?

Your boss doesn't know if you goof off at work sometimes... maybe your lunch hour is a lunch 75 minutes some days... but IF you put a big sign up announcing your mid-day absence then you can bet your boss takes notices.

AutoHop is a big sign saying "no commercials here"... which is way more definitive than maybe customers skip and maybe they don't. AutoHop is definitely they do.

That's the difference.

Dish is paying for Hopper commercials. Can you imagine how mad Dish would be if they paid NBC for a 30-second commercial spot and then NBC doesn't air it? Yeah, maybe no one watches it... but they can't watch it if it isn't on.

Dish implementing AutoHop is a world of difference to you skipping commercials yourself.

I know people think commercials are evil... but do you want every channel to cost as much as HBO does? That would be where we would be headed IF commercial TV goes away.

Complain all you want, but I'd rather the networks and advertisers "think" I might be watching their commercials so they will keep funding the programming so all my networks don't cost $15-$20 each like the premium channels.

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#158 OFFLINE   Renard

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:49 PM

Do you think Directv will do it as well?
I hope YES BIG TIME.

#159 OFFLINE   Marlin Guy

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:01 PM

Do you think Directv will do it as well?
I hope YES BIG TIME.



They'll wait and see how the innovator comes out legally, and then copy the genius.

#160 ONLINE   TheRatPatrol

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:03 PM

I really hope this isn't the beginning to the end of skipping ads altogether.

#161 OFFLINE   Marlin Guy

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:08 PM

You and many others keep missing the difference.

There's a huge difference between you throwing away junk mail and your mailman not delivering it to you in the first place!


Apples and peaches.
The commercials are delivered. Your analogy is only valid if Dish were stripping out the commercials before they got to your DVR.
That is not what they do.
Every time you start playback on a PTAT program, you are presented with the option of consciously throwing out the junk mail or opening it.

The number of times the user has to press a button to facilitate that is irrelevant. Dish just built a better mousetrap, and made the previous models look primitive.

On a side note, Newscorp should have known this was coming well in advance. Their hackers are slipping.

#162 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:39 PM

I really hope this isn't the beginning to the end of skipping ads altogether.


It won't go that far but they want the customer to initiate it. Then there is a chance that it's still played.

#163 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:46 PM

Apples and peaches.
The commercials are delivered. Your analogy is only valid if Dish were stripping out the commercials before they got to your DVR.
That is not what they do.
Every time you start playback on a PTAT program, you are presented with the option of consciously throwing out the junk mail or opening it.

The number of times the user has to press a button to facilitate that is irrelevant. Dish just built a better mousetrap, and made the previous models look primitive.

On a side note, Newscorp should have known this was coming well in advance. Their hackers are slipping.


His analogy is fine and was appropriate. There is never an analogy that is perfect for every situation. Just because you don't like something doesn't make it more right.

Sorry but this time Charlie has gone too far and you're the one who's going to pay for it. This is his cock fight and as much as I can admire some of the things he's done for the industry, much like Al Davis of the NFL, sometimes you just lose touch or go against what's best for the people you think you're doing it for because it's an ego trip.

#164 OFFLINE   Jhon69

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:47 PM

You and many others keep missing the difference.

There's a huge difference between you throwing away junk mail and your mailman not delivering it to you in the first place!

You recording and skipping commercials manually is no different than using the bathroom or going to get a snack. This is largely why the DVR and trick play features won out because they can't make you watch anything you don't want to watch.

AutoHop is a whole new ball of wax. AutoHop gives you the ability to disable all commercials in a given program with the press of one button.

Now... they don't know whether or not I watch any commercials ever... but with AutoHop they know I don't even have a chance.

If you were an advertiser, how much money would you pay for an ad that you know people aren't watching because they can disable commercials entirely?

Your boss doesn't know if you goof off at work sometimes... maybe your lunch hour is a lunch 75 minutes some days... but IF you put a big sign up announcing your mid-day absence then you can bet your boss takes notices.

AutoHop is a big sign saying "no commercials here"... which is way more definitive than maybe customers skip and maybe they don't. AutoHop is definitely they do.

That's the difference.

Dish is paying for Hopper commercials. Can you imagine how mad Dish would be if they paid NBC for a 30-second commercial spot and then NBC doesn't air it? Yeah, maybe no one watches it... but they can't watch it if it isn't on.

Dish implementing AutoHop is a world of difference to you skipping commercials yourself.

I know people think commercials are evil... but do you want every channel to cost as much as HBO does? That would be where we would be headed IF commercial TV goes away.

Complain all you want, but I'd rather the networks and advertisers "think" I might be watching their commercials so they will keep funding the programming so all my networks don't cost $15-$20 each like the premium channels.



Another excellent post Stewart and of course I agree also.

#165 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:35 PM

Come on guys, its all about context here, the big picture.

IF this feature wins, customers might be temporarily happy... but networks will not be able to sell commercials anymore and then the cost of programming (and channels) will go up OR those channels and programs will go away.

I don't think people understand just how much of the programming they like exists because of commercial revenue to the networks.

Keep the context in mind. Dish has not chosen to lump some cable channels together to strip the commercials out.

What they have done is DMA-by-DMA given the viewer who is now paying a retransmission fee to a bunch of local channels to skip the commercials on those channels. I'm not even sure what kind of legal standing the networks have as their contracts are with the local station, even if that station is an O&O. Auto Hop only works on local channels.

Charlie apparently has no problem with broadcasting national channels with commercials without allowing the Auto Hop feature. That's the context.

You recording and skipping commercials manually is no different than using the bathroom or going to get a snack. This is largely why the DVR and trick play features won out because they can't make you watch anything you don't want to watch.

Yeah, but now they can't force me to leave a room in my house to avoid commercials. They don't control what I do. It's all about context.

AutoHop is a whole new ball of wax. AutoHop gives you the ability to disable all commercials in a given program with the press of one button.

Yes it does. it gives me the ability in the privacy of my own home with my old arthritic fingers to press a button once to skip commercials in a show instead of pressing a dozen or more times. That's the context.

If you were an advertiser, how much money would you pay for an ad that you know people aren't watching because they can disable commercials entirely?

Actually, whether I watch commercials is not even in the formula computing the value of commercials. I'm old and live in a rural area. So I don't matter to them and they don't matter to me. That's my context.

Perhaps what they would prefer to do would be to require everyone between the ages of 18-49 to be handcuffed to their chairs for three hours a night to watch commercial-filled national programming via a local television channel. But I don't think Congress would vote for that. I'm not sure, but I don't think they would.

Complain all you want, but I'd rather the networks and advertisers "think" I might be watching their commercials so they will keep funding the programming so all my networks don't cost $15-$20 each like the premium channels.

Actually, here you really need to understand the big picture.

It is likely that you do pay to Disney/ESPN/ABC, News Corp, and NBCU each about what a block of premium channels cost. It's just that you cannot opt not to buy each of their blocks of channels like you do HBO, Showtime and Starz. In fact, it is very clear that when contract time comes up, the Disney suits intend to negotiate the Disney/ESPN/ABC channels as a block - including the ABC O&O - but they will not be giving me the option to not buy them. That's the context.

You, like the broadcast networks and local station owners, are defending a 1958 economic model that should have died sometime in the past ten years.

It is very likely that your Congressman and two Senators have voted to maintain that model and to force you to subsidize it, big time. I have been writing to protest this for years.

There should be a national NBC cable channel, along with USA and Syfy. There should be a national Fox cable channel, along with FX, Speed, etc. There should be a national ABC cable channel, along with ESPN, Disney, etc.

So I respectfully disagree and would happily file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Auto Hop if I could.

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#166 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:33 AM

Another bit of irony... How many posters who hate commercials and want to skip them all... how many of you have links or things in your signatures or avatars that are advertisements? Or maybe you wear clothes with logos on them? Or a bumper sticker on your car perhaps?

If advertisements are evil and to be skipped... why are you advertising?

Food for thought.

I still say as a fan of TV shows... that we should all be hoping this is just a ploy by Charlie to negotiate and use as a bargaining chip... because if the networks push this and lose in court, then we viewers will ultimately lose because ad revenue will go down and network transmission fees will go up... and then our cable/satellite bills will go up... and then everyone will complain about that and wonder why TV suddenly costs so much.

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#167 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:18 AM

Apples and peaches.
The commercials are delivered. Your analogy is only valid if Dish were stripping out the commercials before they got to your DVR.
That is not what they do.
Every time you start playback on a PTAT program, you are presented with the option of consciously throwing out the junk mail or opening it.


Right. The postal carrier still puts the junk mail in by box, but I make the choice to dump it enmasse without unfolding or opening any of it.

And No, I don't wear any clothing that displays labels, sayings, slogans or logos, nor do I have any bumper stickers on my cars.
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#168 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:19 AM

Copyright violation? That would make all DVR's illegal. Unauthorized modification? To what?


Copyright does more than protect against copying someone else's work - it also pertains to keeping the work as the original author intended. In other words, copyright not only prevents you from making an unauthorized copy of a book, it prevents you from altering the book when you make a legitimate copy. What the networks are arguing is that the commercials are part of the "artistic work" and displaying the program without them modifies their copyrighted work. This is a rather weak foot to stand on, IMO, because when they rerun them later, they use different advertisements, which points to the interchangeability of the ads themselves. The other side of it is that networks write their scripts in such a way as to utilize commercial breaks at strategic points within the plot, and skipping those times to ponder or discuss the program changes the artistic worth of the program. How many times will Ryan Seacrest say, "We'll find out... after the break" and then instantly say, "And we're back!" before it seems comical?

#169 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:26 AM

There should be a national NBC cable channel, along with USA and Syfy. There should be a national Fox cable channel, along with FX, Speed, etc. There should be a national ABC cable channel, along with ESPN, Disney, etc.


While I may agree with you, there are a few facts that are undeniable. First, broadcast television consistently delivers the highest ratings in the country. There must be something about the economic model that allows them to afford higher quality programming in larger quantities than the cable model does. It may have something to with the fact that many people use antennas or get "lifeline" cable - which includes almost nothing but local broadcast stations.

It isn't the commercials themselves, because USA and SyFy have commercials, too. I believe it is the ubiquity of these channels - they are in almost every single household with a television.

#170 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:17 AM

Law of Unintended Consequences

I do have to point out the irony that Dish introduces AutoHop feature, then networks decide not to accept commercial advertising money from Dish to promote their Hopper/Joey receivers.

So... on the one hand Dish argues "customers should be able to watch what they want, and they don't want to watch commercials"... but on the other hand Dish is paying money to get commercials airing that sell their products.

What customers does Dish think will be watching those commercials? I mean, if Dish wants to block commercials they seem to be saying customers don't watch them so why throw money in the garbage by paying for your own commercials?

The spector of Dish's AutoHop feature skipping it's own Hopper/Joey commercials portends far-reaching, but as yet aunknown ramifications when the use of such auto-skipping maneuvers by users reaches critical mass, possibly akin to the time-travel paradox, and once again proving that the law of unintended consequences is in full effect..

Perhaps the Mayans prognosticators were right. It's probably no coincidink that Charlie introduces the Harper in the same year that the Mayans have predicted time will cease. Conspiracy or not, these are facts which cannot be denied. You be the judge.

Edited by Nick, 25 May 2012 - 06:45 AM.

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#171 OFFLINE   Marlin Guy

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:58 AM

And No, I don't wear any clothing that displays labels, sayings, slogans or logos, nor do I have any bumper stickers on my cars.


I go even further than that.
I tell the dealership that if they stick one of their dealer emblems on the back of my new car then there is no deal.
I do let them install the advertising license plate brackets, but I remove them as soon as I get home and get some plain ones.

What I will do is help to promote a product in which I believe, in person, in forums, or on facebook.

#172 OFFLINE   grover517

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:36 AM

Do you think Directv will do it as well?
I hope YES BIG TIME.


DirecTV bought the rights to ReplayTV's software technology including the patents, so they already have the capability. Have had for quite a while now, but haven't chosen to do so.

But even if Dish wins, unless DirecTV starts losing subscribers specifically because of this feature, we won't see it.

#173 OFFLINE   damondlt

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:43 AM

You and many others keep missing the difference.

There's a huge difference between you throwing away junk mail and your mailman not delivering it to you in the first place!

You recording and skipping commercials manually is no different than using the bathroom or going to get a snack. This is largely why the DVR and trick play features won out because they can't make you watch anything you don't want to watch.

AutoHop is a whole new ball of wax. AutoHop gives you the ability to disable all commercials in a given program with the press of one button.

Now... they don't know whether or not I watch any commercials ever... but with AutoHop they know I don't even have a chance.

If you were an advertiser, how much money would you pay for an ad that you know people aren't watching because they can disable commercials entirely?

Your boss doesn't know if you goof off at work sometimes... maybe your lunch hour is a lunch 75 minutes some days... but IF you put a big sign up announcing your mid-day absence then you can bet your boss takes notices.

AutoHop is a big sign saying "no commercials here"... which is way more definitive than maybe customers skip and maybe they don't. AutoHop is definitely they do.

That's the difference.

Dish is paying for Hopper commercials. Can you imagine how mad Dish would be if they paid NBC for a 30-second commercial spot and then NBC doesn't air it? Yeah, maybe no one watches it... but they can't watch it if it isn't on.

Dish implementing AutoHop is a world of difference to you skipping commercials yourself.

I know people think commercials are evil... but do you want every channel to cost as much as HBO does? That would be where we would be headed IF commercial TV goes away.

Complain all you want, but I'd rather the networks and advertisers "think" I might be watching their commercials so they will keep funding the programming so all my networks don't cost $15-$20 each like the premium channels.

Thanks , good post!
I keep hearing , well everyone elses DVRs can skip commercials. um , NO they can't.

You can choose not to watch them, but they are still there.


I look at it this way, and you all can get mad.

But are you really Surprised??
Dish pisses off the networks so bad, CBS,and ABC is already sour with them.

Dish always makes it seem like they are doing it all for you, but in the end the customer suffers.
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#174 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:57 AM

.Oh and what about the retrans fee's that keep going up every single year?


If Dish wins, you ain't seen nothin' yet. The networks and their affiliates will punish Dish Network with monumental retransmission fees.

Apples and peaches.
The commercials are delivered. Your analogy is only valid if Dish were stripping out the commercials before they got to your DVR.


This is likely the very point upon which the lawsuit will hinge. Does the deployment of technology to a viewer's local device versus being implemented at the retransmission source, make a material difference under the law? The fact that it is offered for free, and enablement is optional to the viewer will help Dish's cause. However, regardless of the legal details, if Dish prevails on Auto-Hop you can expect retransmission lawsuits involving Dish that will make the previous fights look like a picnic.

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#175 OFFLINE   Marlin Guy

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 07:03 AM

Thanks , good post!
I keep hearing , well everyone elses DVRs can skip commercials. um , NO they can't.

You can choose not to watch them, but they are still there.



That is EXACTLY how the Hopper works. They do not remove the commercials. If you FFWD or REW past the Auto Hop point by one second, the commercials will play.




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