Dish Network Says Broadcaster Dumped It Because Of DVR AutoHop

The major networks have already lined up to fight Dish Network over AutoHop, its DVR function that allows viewers to skip over commercials entirely, with ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox filing separate lawsuits against it. And now a local broadcaster is taking issue with the ad-skipper, and has refused to carry Dish’s signals.

Dish claims Hoak Media Corp., a Dallas-based company which owns 14 small-market television stations in places like Grand Junction, Colo. and Fargo, N.D., broke up with the company because of AutoHop, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“Hoak doesn’t respect customer control — they are telling customers they must watch commercials,” said David Shull, Dish’s senior vice president of programming.

Dish claims that while talking with Hoak about a new distribution agreement, Hoak blocked Dish’s ability to carry the stations.

“Hoak is insisting on a rate increase of more than 200% and has demanded that Dish eliminate customer-enabled commercial-skipping technology found on its Hopper,” Dish said in a statement.

The AutoHop allows Dish’s 14 million subscribers to more easily skip commercials on shows recorded on the DVR on the major networks during prime time. Instead of just fast-forwarding through ads, AutoHop causes the screen to go dark during commercial breaks for a few seconds before the show comes back on.

Last month when the networks filed suit in a U.S. District Court in California, claiming AutoHop violates their copyrights, Dish sued back in New York, asking the court to declare that its Auto Hop technology does not violate the network’s copyrights.

Dish claims broadcaster pulled signals in part because of AutoHop [Los Angeles Times]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.