DISH Network has rolled out an update to their well received Hopper DVR that, among other things, seems to respond directly to broadcaster concerns of an unlicensed on demand service that has led to a multitude of lawsuits.
If you recall, the Hopper incorporates a consumer friendly Prime Time Anytime feature to automate the recording of prime time network programming, with shows retained 8 days. Building upon that functionality, DISH then introduced Auto Hop commercial skip functionality… which, of course, the broadcasters did not respond well to.
To possibly head off or limit the pending legal action, DISH has tweaked both these services to require a bit more user interaction and to enable more granular control. First, instead of automatically recording a week of programming from the four big networks, customers can now specify which networks and which days (see above). Additionally, whereas the recordings were previously stored in an inaccessible portion of the Hopper’s hard drive, this content can now be managed like any other recording. Together, these two changes make the feature look a bit more like a traditional DVR – rather than an on demand service. At least, we can presume, that is DISH’s hope. Finally, the Auto Hop commercial skip feature now has a “No Thanks” as the default response (see below right), requiring additional user intervention and once again (hopefully) proving this isn’t an automated solution but something initiated by consumers. But time (and the courts) will tell if these changes are sufficient…
(Thanks, Scott & Satellite Guys!)