Dish AutoHop vs Networks Commercial Skipping Discussion

Discussion in 'General DISH™ Discussion' started by phrelin, May 15, 2012.

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  1. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Gold Club DBSTalk Club

    Apr 17, 2003
    The problem was with the networks claiming that THEY had licensed the content to DISH ... they do not (outside consent to carry on the Owned and Operated stations). That is why I got into the details of who actually grants a copyright license (the government, not the stations) and grants permission (the station, not the network) for carriage.

    The "unintended purpose" argument has flaws. First, DISH's agreement with the stations (which I agree is more likely to be consent to carry for a major network station) says that DISH will provide that station's feed on their system and compensate the station as agreed. DISH is honoring that agreement. The stations themselves are being carried in their entirety and are available for their complete broadcast day via DISH's feeds.

    There seems to be an underlying argument in this thread about DISH using secret signals embedded in the programming for an "unintended purpose". That would need to be proven. There seems to be a false assumption that DISH would need to use these secret signals to find commercial breaks ... instead of by observation. DISH has a patent application pending that suggests Closed Captioning could be used to determine breaks but that process would be more suited to syndicated programming where the station itself controls the length of the breaks ... not national network programming where all stations in a time zone are synchronized to a network clock.

    The whole "unintended purpose" argument is as old as the ability to record TV at home for personal playback (VCR technology). The stations complained then ... "we broadcast this content to WATCH not to record". The consumer won.
  2. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    Dish and the local broadcast stations have retransmission agreements with Dish paying fees for each subscriber to the local affiliates which Dish then collects from subscribers.

    The affiliates have contracts with the networks permitting them to broadcast programming, even allowing them to insert commercials, which contracts include the affiliates paying the networks.

    The networks have no contractual arrangements with Dish regarding the broadcast signal from each local statin as far as I know.

    That is why Fox demanded affiliates pay them from retransmission fees and why some affiliates refused and Fox unilaterally ended their contracts. Had Fox had contracts with the cable and satellite providers, that process would have been unnecessary.

    If Fox actually had a contract or a clear licensing arrangement with Dish regarding programming provided to Dish from affiliates you wouldn't read all the BS in its initial filing about the license for the Fox's "video-on-demand" service.

    In fact Fox attempts to build an entire case on that rather than licensing associated with the broadcast channel. Then they argue that the Autohop feature is not controlled by the consumer like traditional DVR's but does it's thing in a different way therefore "DISH actively controls and is involved in the operations of all aspects of the Primetime Anytime system" creating an on-demand system.

    They then refer to a "Letter Agreement" of 2010 that they say restricts Dish from providing VOD. They then even throw in the Sling because the Letter Agreement, they assert, prohibits Dish from distributing Fox programming over the internet or similar technology.

    Actually, they technically may have a stronger case about that last complaint except they are only trying to focus on the PTAT process.

    On the other hand, CBS argues straightforwardly that Dish induces their customers to infringe CBS's copyrights.

    Then they screw up their argument by explaining they are really dependent on advertising and something called "free" over-the-air broadcast stations "which makes news, information, and entertainment available to virtually all Americans without any need to pay subscription fees."

    But that is simply a lie. I and millions of Americans who cannot get OTA signals can no longer pay a cable or satellite company just for the cost of being a stand-in for an antenna. Now we pay a retransmission fee that the cable or satellite company passes on to the broadcast station, part of which the station passes on to the network.

    As far as I'm concerned, the moment any American had to pay a broadcast station for what was a "free" OTA signal (as established 50+ years ago by a federal license), then that American was free to avoid commercials in the most efficient way possible.

    Sorry, but I have no inherent obligation to watch commercials. The networks know that, the broadcast stations know that, the satellite and cable companies know that, and the judges probably know that and don't watch them.

    If the national broadcast networks were to change their model over to the cable channel model, dumping all the local affiliates and owned and operated local stations, then we could talk. But what they've done is cut off their noses to spite their faces.

    They are trying to argue that an incremental change in the ease of using a DVR to skip commercials crosses some line. I, the viewer, say they and their affiliates crossed the line a while back by insisting on retransmission fees.
  3. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

    Dec 2, 2010
    Amen, brother!
  4. sregener

    sregener Godfather

    Apr 17, 2012
    Most Americans can, in fact, get an OTA signal. It takes some know-how with antennas (picking the right one, placing it properly) but it's not as difficult as all that. Most people go to their local store and buy a cheap antenna, set it on top of their TV, get nothing and shrug and say, "Oh, well, I guess I need cable." When I moved, the realtor told me nobody could get OTA in my city and that I needed cable. Turns out, it's pathetically easy to get OTA with a simple rooftop installation.

    However, if OTA truly isn't an option for you, there is something called "Lifeline" service, which is cost controlled by the FCC and mandated - cable companies must offer it. It generally runs $10-15/month in almost any area. That cost covers the cable company's infrastructure costs only. This is never an advertised service and you have to specifically ask for lifeline or "broadcast only" service. If you ask for basic cable, you get much, much more. Dish even has a package that is under $20/month that includes locals. That compares favorably with the $10/month in 1980 for cable service, once inflation is taken into account.

    This does nothing to detract from the basic argument that we, the viewers, are under no obligation to watch commercials. I'm sure the broadcasters hated the invention of the remote control, as it made it easier for viewers to switch away from commercials. They hated the VCR. They hated the DVR. They hated the Internet. Basically, they hate any new technology.
  5. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 24, 2007
    You've apparently never been to south east CT. We can't get OTA here...well a couple of fuzzy RI stations and PBS. I went 35' off the top of my roof with no success. A service provider is a must in SE CT. However, when I was a kid in NJ I could get ≈15 channels with rabbit ears. :grin:
    The current FCC Lifeline program is about providing ≈$10/mo discounts on telephone service (land line and wireless) to low income families. It’s about access to broadband for low income families, not TV service (Link). I don’t think there is a mandated lifeline service for cable. :scratchin
    Broadcasters and the recording industry do have a history of attacking these devices. My real problem with this is how it will affect the out of pocket cost for the subscribers if carriage fees go up due to “loss” of ad revenue.

  6. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

    Apr 22, 2002
    Kansas City KS
    #1 - "Lifeline" TV service is not controlled by the FCC - its the local franchising authority.

    #2 - The stations are not against technology - just look at all the servers, etc. they are using to get and present that programming - they just don't want US (the viewer) to have access to the same kind of technology they use to time and space shift.
  7. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    On a slight tangent... It has always been curious to me how there are many people who dislike commercials and advertising during their TV... yet those same people happily buy products and clothing that serve as advertisements.

    I always find it ironic to see a person wearing Nike-branded shoes and other branded apparel complaining about commercials. Why it is especially ironic is the "I pay for TV, so why should I also have to watch commercials" argument never seems to come up when Nike shoes cost more than a generic brand... but people will pay more for the Nike logo and wear them proudly and walk around town like a walking billboard for Nike... but will then sit at home where the reverse is true (Nike pays for ad space that results in your paying less for TV) and complain about that.

    So... paying for the right to advertise a product you wear is acceptable, but having them pay for you to watch TV is intrusive.
  8. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    May 17, 2010
    While I agree with your your "slaves of fashion" scenario there is a sizeable percentage of viewers who are not. For us commercial advertisements are a waste of time. I have never been motivated by TV commercials to try or purchase their product. People like me shop by trial and error, or use recommendations from friends and family, not from strangers advertising on TV. Advertising has become a plague. Just look at how it's increased on the internet the past couple of years. The same applies with television. I remember a guest host on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" being so annoyed by the commercial interruptions that after a commercial break he stated "we interrupt our regulary scheduled commercials so that we may bring you the following program". It's gotten a hell of a lot worse since then.
  9. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    I guess it is possible that DISH has 4 employees in a room, each watching the 1 channel of the primetime block and marking when commercials begin and end. This data is then transmitted to the Hopper which uses these stop and start times to enable AutoHop.

    But if this is the case, it would seem the networks could defeat it by using multiple "clocks".

    I still don't follow what the consent to carry/must carry law has to do with this. It would be irrelevant if DISH was a cableco doing the same thing.
  10. RasputinAXP

    RasputinAXP Kwisatz Haderach of Cordcuttery

    Jan 23, 2008
    In my area, you'd need at least two antennas, including one large VHF-Lo antenna, to pick up all 4 major networks. I live near Philadelphia. The digital switchover has been a ridiculous failure here. I hate WPVI for clinging to their old wavelength. I hate WHYY less for clinging to their old wavelength because at least that's VHF-Hi.
  11. Wilf

    Wilf Legend

    Oct 15, 2008
    Not anymore. The $15 welcome pack has been replaced with a $25 Family pack. Fortunately I am grandfathered in with the former.
  12. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    Odd. Dish still advertises it on the web site.


    It does list a different phone number than indicated at the upper left.
  13. Wilf

    Wilf Legend

    Oct 15, 2008
    I based my comment on the options that appear online for my account.
  14. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    I'm sure there are exceptions... Although at the risk of poking the bear... I should probably add that many people on this thread who think commercials are evil and that they shouldn't be forced to watch them... many of those people have forum avatars that are essentially advertising... and in some cases are advertising products that they would be offended to see a commercial :)

    Well, I agree with you there. I've long argued that most advertising dollars are dollars thrown into a black hole. I've argued that products with high-recognizability and longevity shouldn't need to spend near as much. Pepsi, Coke, and many popular beers come to mind. I don't drink alcohol (never have, never will) and yet I am personally familiar with a bunch of different brands through commercials.

    I have to think anyone partaking of these beverages know about the product and where to get them without needing multiple commercials daily! Pepsi, Coke, and the beer companies could save their marketing dollars and pocket that as profit...

    Arguably, a company like these should only need to advertise when they introduce a new product or a limited time offer. Then the money spent on advertising makes sense... but beating people over the head with "Pepsi exists" seems to be a diminishing returns scenario where most of the advertising is not adding to their product sales line.

    Advertising works best for a new company or a new product... And while I still agree that commercials don't convince me to want something... the first iPhone commercial let me know that there was in fact an iPhone and that prompted me to research further. I don't need a Pepsi commercial to know I can go buy Pepsi at pretty much any store in town.


    All that said... I still say, if the companies want to waste that money on advertising so that I can pay less for some TV programs... I'm happy to let them operate under that illusion and not continue to point out to them that their commercials are doing no good.
  15. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    They are not targeting you or me, but instead teens who have the attention span of a gnat. Pepsi and Coke both need to convince teens that drinking their product is "cool" so that the teen will choose one or the other and then in theory be a customer for life.

    Same with beer. Targeting older teens that drinking a Bud Light at the bar will make women like you is the goal. I know what most beers taste like and I now choose the ones I like, but there was a time when I did choose the "cool" one.
  16. TBoneit

    TBoneit Hall Of Fame

    Jul 27, 2006
    Every time You climb into your car you are advertising the maker and the model you chose.

    Unless you are very careful and insist that they dealer not put their name on the car you are also advertising the dealer. Right there those that complain about paying for advertising are being somewhat disingenuous.
  17. Inkosaurus

    Inkosaurus Icon

    Jul 29, 2011
    If I remember correctly you can only add the Welcome Pack through a CSR.
  18. Wilf

    Wilf Legend

    Oct 15, 2008
    That could well be correct. Over the past year or so I downgraded from America's 200, HBO, GoogleTV integration, and two DVR's to just the Welcome Pack and only one DVR. As I remember, I dropped the HBO online, the rest had to be done by talking to a CSR.
  19. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
    The Morning Bridge this morning says ABC has filed a suit against the AutoHop completing the big 4 broadcast networks plus the following:
  20. Marlin Guy

    Marlin Guy Hall Of Fame

    Apr 8, 2009

    I first heard about the Hopper while watching DirecTV. That ad sparked curiosity and I came here to learn more. So glad I saw that ad!
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