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It appears five couch potatoes will have their day in court.

In a surprise decision Friday, a judge in Los Angeles combined two lawsuits that aim to combat an attempt by the major networks and film studios to cripple consumer electronics manufacturer Sonicblue's ReplayTV ( news - web sites) devices, which allow television viewers to skip commercials.

The Hollywood companies say the devices infringe on their copyrights by letting users build up libraries of TV shows, send shows to other users via the Internet and skip past commercials.

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