Those commercials for the Dish Network Hopper
, the monster whole-home DVR
service that lets users record up to 6 channels simultaneously and store up to 2,000 hours of content, make the whole thing seem too good to be true. In reality, it’s not, but the major networks certainly feel like it should be.
Multiple networks have sued Dish Network over one feature in particular: AutoHop
, which allows users to automatically skip commercials in recorded content. It may seem a semantic designation to carp about an auto-skip feature when users have always been able to simply fast forward through ads in DVR-ed programs, but the networks disagree.
However, Dish keeps winning the court cases. This week, U.S. District Judge Laura Swain waived ABC
’s proposed injunction against sales of the service. Granted, this is only a preliminary ruling, but it’s obviously moving in Dish’s favor, and it follows a similar ruling in Los Angeles this summer where a three-judge panel decided that Dish was in the clear in a case brought against it by Fox
The court battles are far from over--for example, in the same sentence in Judge Swain’s ruling where she denies ABC's injunction request, she denied Dish’s motion to dismiss CBS' claims against it. But for now, the Hopper and its AutoHop feature live on.