The war between networks and Dish’s AutoHop waged another battle Tuesday as Fox Broadcasting Co. requested a Pasadena federal appeals court to halt the ad-skipping service. If enacted, the appeal would overrule last year’s district judge’s ruling that the Dish service is similar to other digital-video recording services, and therefore not a threat to television’s advertising revenue.

But where DVR allows a viewer to fast-forward through commercials, AutoHop allows subscribers to Dish’s PrimeTime Anytime to skip them entirely when they watching the recorded shows. At the hearing, Fox’s lawyer, Paul Smith, alleged AutoHop is an unlicensed service that competes with a licensed service Fox receives money from – namely, the network’s online business with iTunes and Amazon – and that AutoHop diminishes the value of its main source of financing: commercials.

For its part, AutoHop said Dish subscribers do pay for Fox’s programs and shouldn’t have to pay to watch it again if they already missed it, but recorded it.

Read more about the appeal at Bloomberg.

Brief Take: AutoHop’s technology does potentially lower the value of commercials, but then so did VCRs when people used to record their content on VHS tapes. No judge halted that development and no judge will halt this one either.


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