Despised By Networks, AutoHop Is An Award Winner

With the same fervor that consumers display when skipping commercials with DVRs, some network executives want to eliminate a certain Dish Network device. If they succeed, they’ll be ridding the world of an engineering feat. At least according to one group.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the trade group representing TV-set and other manufacturers, has named the AutoHop functionality an “honoree” for an innovative design and engineering award linked with its Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

One of the criteria used by the selection committee: the “product’s intended use/function and user value.”

The leading broadcast networks would argue that its intended use is to defraud them. As for the user value, they probably don’t want to say much. It’s tough to argue that something that saves time and helps avoid crass commercialism doesn’t carry some pretty nice value.

The Big Four broadcasters have sued Dish for launching AutoHop, which takes some of their recorded shows and automatically removes all the commercials. At least with traditional DVRs, viewers have a shot at being exposed to the ads.



Here’s a shocker: no programmers appear to have been on the panel that chose to fete AutoHop. Broadcasters might just blame it on the media since members were on the CEA selection panel, along with independent designers and engineers.

Accepting the award, Dish executive Vivek Khemka said in a statement what Dish has argued before: AutoHop allows consumers to do what they already do more easily. (That might be the embodiment of progress?)

AutoHop, which is part of a Hopper DVR platform, will be on display at the CES show in January. Lots of network executives attend. They probably won’t be stopping to pay homage.

6 comments about "Despised By Networks, AutoHop Is An Award Winner".
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  1. William Hodges from Tiny Circle LLC, November 15, 2012 at 7:43 p.m.

    I think there are fundamental assumptions and issues with not only this article, but the issue at hand. First of all, making the statement, "It’s tough to argue that something that saves time and helps avoid crass commercialism doesn’t carry some pretty nice value." That assumes all commercials are pointless, obnoxious time wasters that get in the way of real entertainment productivity time.

    As usual today's consumer really wants everything of super high quality, but really don't want to pay anything for it. Productions require a great deal of cash, provided substantially by advertising. Otherwise, it's a subscription entertainment service. If you look at HBO as an example, that's about $12 per month for that one channel. So if you like content on 10 more commercial free channels, that's an additional $120 per month. And you get 10 channels total.

    So we can choose between highly inflated, channel by channel pricing or watch some ads and get more channels, more content and more choices? But can we all agree it's a choice, just one that everyone avoids discussing?

    Autohop is no different than ripping a show off a torrent site. You're altering the content to remove the built in value to the producers and their supporters.

    Making the case to make stealing the content easier and more effective? Doesn't sound like progress to me. Sounds more like the race to the bottom.

  2. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace, November 16, 2012 at 8:52 a.m.

    If the producers cut back on the number of commercials (and raised advertising prices accordingly) and stopped being so offensive. Maybe people wouldn't be prone to avoiding them. There was one a time where there were only 8-10 minutes of commercials per hour, today these figures have more than doubled. Add to that the number of "Age-Inappropriate" Ads shown at times when children are watching, and is it any wonder viewers go to the lengths they do to avoid commercials?

  3. Mike B from Buyer, November 16, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.

    I cant watch a single football game without seeing that annoying commercial for "Tha Hoppa" which is telling me I can skip annoying commercials. Oh the irony...

  4. Cece Forrester from tbd, November 16, 2012 at 5:20 p.m.

    Many commercials are pointless at the viewing end because they are put in front of someone who is either not in the market for the product or has seen them too many times already. (Not to mention the ones that are needlessly annoying.) We all know this. We consider it waste, but we don't often think of the person whose time and mental state are being wasted, on top of the wasted dollars.

    Why, then, do some in the industry continue to insist that everyone whose eyes behold an irrelevant commercial is still obligated to engage it with their attention? What do we have to gain by it? Do we imagine that somehow their forced attention will turn the wasted dollars productive again? Why not instead get behind some mechanism that will allow the "waste" portion to opt themselves out? (It could be made selective, you know.)

  5. Anne Peterson from Idaho Public Televsion, November 16, 2012 at 7:53 p.m.

    Just a reminder: Many of us used fast forward to skip all of most of the ads on the now-old fashioned VCR.

  6. Edmund Singleton from Winstion Communications, November 17, 2012 at 6 a.m.

    Auto anything can be a bad thing, sometime I would like to see the ads...

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