Dish Deal With CBS Effectively Makes Ad-Skipping DVR Pointless

hopperwithslingYes, after a brief blackout over the weekend, Dish Network and CBS reached a deal that will stop all the nasty back-and-forth talk between the two… at least until the next time. But as part of this arrangement, Dish subscribers who enjoy their ad-skipping AutoHop DVR service will find it significantly less useful.

The AutoHop feature records primetime broadcast network programming and later makes it available for viewing with all of the ads automatically removed.

CBS has been suing Dish over the feature since it was launched, alleging copyright infringement by claiming the satellite service is illegally altering and rebroadcasting its copyrighted content without permission.

Buried in the last paragraph of CBS’s prepared statement is a note that the accord between the two parties ends “all pending litigation between the two companies, including disputes over PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop.”

And then there’s the real kicker, written in TV-industry speak:

“As part of the accord, DISH’s AutoHop commercial-skipping functionality will not be available for CBS Television Network-owned stations and affiliates during the C7 window.”

This means that AutoHop users will have to wait for more than seven days after a CBS broadcast airs before they can enjoy the ad-skipping feature of the DVR.

If you’re the kind of viewer that likes to build up weeks of a recorded show before sitting down for a Big Bang binge, then this won’t have much of an impact on your life. But if you’re a Dish customer who likes to watch Survivor the next day while making dinner, and really loved the ad-skipping feature because it meant you didn’t have to constantly reach for the remote, you’re out of luck.

The CBS agreement goes even further than the deal Dish reached with Disney last spring, which limits the AutoHop ad-skipping feature on ABC shows to three days after broadcast.

This means that the primary lure of AutoHop is effectively neutralized for two of the four broadcast networks. And you can be sure that both FOX and NBC will now demand similar terms when they next renegotiate their deals with Dish.

Unlike the Disney compromise, which gave Dish additional streaming access to the company’s networks, the CBS agreement merely allows Dish to continue carrying CBS and a handful of other channels. Thus, when Dish launches its streaming-only TV service, don’t expect to see your local CBS station — or Showtime — as part of the channel lineup.

[via Ars Technica]

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