Hugh Pickens writes "Forbes reports that Dish Network has announced a new feature called called Auto Hop for its satellite TV subscribers that will let you automatically skip all commercials for prime time television from the four major broadcast networks — when you watch programs the day after they are first aired. 'Viewers love to skip commercials,' says Vivek Khemka, vice president of DISH Product Management. 'With the Auto Hop capability of the Hopper, watching your favorite shows commercial-free is easier than ever before.' Craig Moffett says it's going to be hard for Dish to maintain good relationships with its programming affiliates when they start offering a feature intended to cut out the bulk of the affiliates' revenues. Whether the auto-skip feature can withstand legal challenge remains to be seen. 'Given the already long list of industry-unfriendly features promoted by Dish, one wonders if Auto Hop will be the final straw that provokes legal action from the broadcast networks,' says Moffett. 'We suspect Auto Hop probably uses some sort of bookmarking insertion based on automated recognition of commercial inserts (called "fingerprinting'"), which if true could certainly be argued to be a manipulation of the content stream by the distributor.'"
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