But Fox took a more aggressive route through the courts, only to lose recently in this effort. Still Fox downplayed the result, saying AutoHop is hardly used anymore.
Yeah, well, we know why. Because CBS and Disney-ABC, two of the big four broadcast TV networks, were able to disable the Autohop function through negotiation.
Dish agreed to disable its ad-skipping feature until three days after live broadcasts by ABC and ESPN, and seven days after some prime-time broadcasts by CBS.
Fox may also end up doing a similar negotiation. That means the only pending lawsuit left is with NBCUniversal.
Right now, if you have Dish and want to blow through Ford Motor, Geico, AT&T, Universal Studios, and Old Spice ads you can only do that on Fox and NBC. So has it really gone away? Yes and no.
Networks can keep suing, but perhaps CBS and Walt Disney realized something about technology that may seems threatening at first, but ultimately has less impact -- though it never seems to really go away.
Remember when the VCR first launched, and warnings of copyright infringement arose? Big legal efforts sprung up then too. So-called “network DVRs” were also viewed as a threat. Now, these all seem to have found a better place inside “cloud” TV.
Fox may have been out to prove a point -- that if pushed around, it would fight back, even if it loses a particular battle.
And Dish’s negotiations with CBS and ABC may look like a sell-out to its loyal consumers -- caving in the demands of big media companies.
In that regard, how do you explain this to your loyal fans -- especially when Dish started up its Hopper/AutoHop efforts with a big TV advertising campaign (note the irony) when it launched?