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Fox's Attempt To Block Ad-skipping TV Recorder Autohop Fails

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the skip-ahead dept.

Television 142

another random user writes that Fox's preliminary attempt to stop Dish Network's Autohop feature has failed in court. "A bid to block a TV service that allows viewers to automatically skip adverts on recorded shows has been rejected. Fox had called for a preliminary injunction on Dish Network's Autohop ahead of a copyright ruling. Broadcasters Fox, Comcast, NBC and CBS have each sued Dish Networks, saying the show recordings are unauthorized. Fox said it would appeal against the ruling. It says Autohop is 'destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.' But Dish called the decision not to grant a preliminary injunction a 'victory for common sense.' Its Hopper digital video recorder can record and store prime-time content from the four major networks for up to eight days. And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button."

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There's this website (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41926949)

It lets me find where I can download TV with the ads already skipped, months before it screens in my country.

Re:There's this website (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927773)

Pretty useful for people in the US west coast too. I can watch it hours before it screens in my region.

Re:There's this website (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929905)

Hours. At least it's not like being in the rest of the world and having to wait years or months to get a hold of something your friends (globally and locally the ones who pirated it) are talking about/spoiling.

Sometimes we're lucky enough to get something 'fast tracked' (whatever that means with digital distribution) a mere week or two after it screens.

Autohop (0)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41926957)

And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button.

I would prefer if this feature worked without having to press a button.

In fact, I thought that's what the name implied: "autohop", automatically-hop-commercials.

Does anyone know? I don't have Dish Network.

Re:Autohop (5, Informative)

Huntr (951770) | about 2 years ago | (#41927037)

You turn the feature on and all the ads are automatically skipped over.

Re:Autohop (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41928937)

About a billion years ago I had a clunky MythTV box under the TV that did this. It was pretty good at detecting and skipping commercials... though not perfect. Has anyone seen how well this feature works on the Dish hardware?

Re:Autohop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930835)

IIRC, it isn't automated. Dish has a human (or several) watch the primetime shows and insert markers around the commercials into the stream after the fact. As such, I don't think the autohop feature is available until a few hours after the primetime shows air. So, it should actually be pretty good, albeit not completely automated.

Re:Autohop (2)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | about 2 years ago | (#41931623)

The last time I used Myth (within a few months I believe), the commercial detection worked flawlessly for the few shows I recorded. My Myth box unfortunately does not handle HD well and doesn't get much use anymore, but it seems to have improved since the box was under the TV a few years ago. If the Myth guys can get it that good, I think there's hope for Dish. (Though if the AC is correct and it's all done by people, it doesn't really matter what I say)

I'm sure someone will post that Myth sucks and never detects commercials properly, but it worked for me.

TiVo (1)

mschaffer (97223) | about 2 years ago | (#41927243)

I wish TiVo had this again...even if you have to press a button.

Re:TiVo (1)

ProfBooty (172603) | about 2 years ago | (#41928581)

Thats why you should have bought a replay tv. IT had all the features you wanted on a Tivo back in the day, 480p, ethernet, internet show transfer, automatic commerical skipping etc.

Re:TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931669)

I love my replay tv... I am starting to worry about its health, its 8 years old now... :(

Adapt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41926959)

Or perish.

I remember when... (5, Insightful)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 2 years ago | (#41926993)

I remember when the cable co (now Time-Warner) came to my town back in the 80's. They said the subscription model would eliminate the need for ads.

AAahahahahahahahahahaha........

It reminds me of the insurance companies back then, all led by good God-fearing Republicans.

"If you pass seatbelt laws, the premiums can go down. If you pass Daytime-running lights the rates may go down. If you have airbags the rates will go *way* down."

I'm still waiting for the rates to go down.
,
.

Re:I remember when... (3, Interesting)

MorphOSX (2511156) | about 2 years ago | (#41927071)

Rates will go down when the number of things causing accidents does. Texting/distracted driving has gone WAY up, so even if all the features making the insurance rates go down, in theory, are there, then the average cost to all insurers to cover the people that get into wrecks while distracted driving, etc., jack them right back up again, since it all works off of an aggregate pool. So, while income from subscriptions to cable/satellite may ultimately negate the need for commercials, the cost of funding the programing goes up as well, through greed and inflation. So, what cost maybe $1.5m to make in 1990, now costs 10.5+, and considering the amount of stuff on TV that people watch, the sheer enormity of the costs to produce it all would nowhere near be covered by subscription fees alone. that leaves you with the basic other source of funding: advertisements.

Re:I remember when... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927093)

Rates will go down when the number of things causing accidents does. Texting/distracted driving has gone WAY up,

Texting may have gone way up, but distracted driving hasn't. Just that the distraction itself is changing.

Texting while driving is really dumb, but so is putting on makeup, reading a paper, eating a salad. But dumb people do dumb things
and not much has changed overall.

Re:I remember when... (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41927125)

And those risks 'just happened' to come into existence right as the insurers were about to honor their promise that those new mandates would slash rates across the board. WHAT A SHOCKING COINCIDENCE! Who could EVER have guessed that? Billions to one and yet it happens every single time.

Or perhaps they might just be liars.

Re:I remember when... (4, Funny)

pclminion (145572) | about 2 years ago | (#41928575)

Not to mention that most people, when given a method of reducing base risk, will alter their behavior to bring risk back to previous levels. If you give somebody a way to be safer in a car crash, they'll use that "risk capital" to drive faster.

The crotchety old father of a friend of mine has a suggestion to reduce accident rates: installation of an eight inch metal spike in the center of the steering wheel, pointed at the driver's chest. And no seat belts. Bet you'll drive a bit safer in that configuration.

Re:I remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928645)

The crotchety old father of a friend of mine has a suggestion to reduce accident rates: installation of an eight inch metal spike in the center of the steering wheel, pointed at the driver's chest. And no seat belts. Bet you'll drive a bit safer in that configuration.

Nah. I'd let my wife drive.

Re:I remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929937)

Ideally you'd increase the perception of risk without increasing risk itself. With traction control, quiet engines and well noise-insulated cabs you can drive much closer to a car's limits (and the limits are much higher) without feeling like you're going fast.

You could set the traction control to make the tires chirp a bit earlier (don't know how much performance/safety this would lose), allow more road/engine noise into the passenger compartment, make the seats less comfortable/stable feeling and so on, Even making the cab look/feel like it'd hurt a lot more if you crashed (looser but self-tightening seatbelts?) and so on.

Re:I remember when... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928595)

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG.

The cost of anything will never go down because the market has already worked out how much you're willing to pay. If the cost of the service to the vendor ever goes down then that's PROFIT. Prices will never go down even if the cost of providing the services reaches zero.

If the cost reaches zero then the only way to realize that cost reduction is by reimplementing the whole system at reduced cost again...cloning. Of course we have IP law to make sure this doesn't happen and we can keep prices artificially high.

Re:I remember when... (3, Insightful)

mallyn (136041) | about 2 years ago | (#41931255)

I can put in my two cents for the rising cost of programs.

Once upon a time, a film crew took over a neighbour's house (with their permission, of course) to film a TV program.

I could watch the activity out of my bedroom window.

This took several days' time to file just on half hour program.

There were, of course the large number of trucks parked at the scene. Food trucks. Dressing room trucks. Lighting trucks (at least four or five of these and some of them were these giant semis). Even shower trucks. And *many* people.

What **ASTOUNDED** me was the sheer number of people who looked like they were standing around doing nothing.

I went downstairs and outside and started asking questions to other neighbours who were watching what was going on. She said that this is usual. Union rules require that each person have a very specific job. An electrician can only connect/disconnect lights. They cannot move anything.

She also said that it take an average of two or three hours to film just a few seconds of what you see on screen.

And *all* of the people I saw were paid union wages. Those wages bump up to 2x for each minute over 8 hours per day.

Folks. That experience taught me that TV shows are not cheap by any means!

Re:I remember when... (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#41928287)

Ah cable when it came out. It sure was nice with no ads and little shorts to fill in while you wait for a show or movie to start. Then the zipper went down and ....censored

Re:I remember when... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#41928439)

"If you pass seatbelt laws, the premiums can go down. If you pass Daytime-running lights the rates may go down. If you have airbags the rates will go *way* down."

Legislators were persuaded of the need; passed the laws, and then the laws did not have the intended effect of fewer deaths/injuries due to vehicle accidents.

Anti cell-phone laws won't either. The idiot factor cannot be overcome by passing new laws.

The idiots have seatbelts now, so they survive to get into more accidents, and people tend to drive less cautiously, because the seatbelt and bags gives them a feeling of comfort; like "No big deal if I crash; the safety features will protect me, and insurance will take care of the cost".

Re:I remember when... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 2 years ago | (#41929073)

My rates are pretty low. Two cars, two drivers, full comprehensive and theft, $500 deductible, 2007 and 2011. $1150 / year. That's after each have had one no fault accident a few years back.

Re:I remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930545)

Idiots don't wear seatbelts because freedom. Unfortunately most of them get knocked up before they get their license, so no Darwin award.

Re:I remember when... (1)

jimbirch (2621059) | about 2 years ago | (#41929185)

Get over it Princess. When people stop believing simplistic nonsense the system will stop producing it. But don't hold your breath. Prices are based on loads of factors. Subscription model could eliminate ads but only if people were willing to pay enough to eliminate ads. Turns out they rather pay less and get some ads. Seatbelts reduce injury so reduce premiums. Other things put them up. We don't live in a world where one thing happens at a time and everything else stays in 1990. Everything is changing all the time. When someone throws out a simple explanation don't take it as a promise. It's not a promise, it's just a simple explanation of how something might work in a simplified theoretical universe. Recreational outrage makes us even more stupid than we already are.

Re:I remember when... (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 2 years ago | (#41929279)

Oh, I'm over it all right. $25 a month was an exhorbitant amount back then. Nowdays its well north of $100. Of course its still not enough - the point is that it never will be. If any given company can take *all* of your income, they would. Meanwhile they shouldn't even bother to *imply* anything. As in, don't insult my intelligence.

Re:I remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929567)

"If you pass seatbelt laws, the premiums can go down. If you pass Daytime-running lights the rates may go down. If you have airbags the rates will go *way* down."

As an insurance system programmer I can tell you that all those factors do indeed have individual discounts. Not huge discounts, and they vary by state, but a few percent here and there.

So the rates did go down.

Re:I remember when... (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | about 2 years ago | (#41931091)

Here in my state, it was the Democrats who passed the seat belt laws, but otherwise correct. Unfortunately, there are nanny state leaders on both sides.

Die, evil bitch (-1, Offtopic)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#41926999)

The punks took it on the chin this time. Hope this holds up. There's not too much to cheer about right now.

Re:Die, evil bitch (-1, Flamebait)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#41931349)

Touch a nerve on some flunky moderator for the fat pig industry did I?

Fox...turning on the Free Market. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927089)

What a surprise.

I knew there love affair wasn't going to last very long.

They don't like autohop? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927121)

Well i wonder how pissed they are that i don't even watch network tv anymore.. BECAUSE THEY ARE CHOCK FULL OF FUCKING ADS! I really can't stand it anymore. It's gotten so bad over the last decade. Any given show is now at least 40% ads. Maybe even more now with product placement and other scumbag ideas.

The world has too many ads. Period. And i'm not gonna join in anymore. Actually i even tend to avoid any products or stores that advertise often. Or annoyingly.

Advertisers ruin every thing they have ever touched. TV, Radio, Internet, Phone, Magazines, Even the real world driving down the road you are blasted with ads every 50 feet.

You make the world a worse place. I despise you all.

Re:They don't like autohop? (-1, Offtopic)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 2 years ago | (#41927153)

Amen to this ^^^ (not sure why my other comment was downmodded, its the truth...)

Re:They don't like autohop? (2, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41927239)

I've timed the ads before. A show that uses up an hour time slot will use between 10 and 15 minutes for ads.

It's substantial, but it's not 40%.

Re:They don't like autohop? (2)

Formalin (1945560) | about 2 years ago | (#41927399)

It used to be generally 22/8 for a half hour slot (27%), in Canada at least. There was a comedy show with 22 minutes in the name, related to that.

It always seemed to me that American channels had more advertising, but maybe it was just more unbearable that it felt longer. Goddamn lawyer ads, loans, no credit this and that, factory outlet, and so on.

I seem to think tv-rips were/are still 20(40)+ minutes, and they fit in half (full)hour slots...

Re:They don't like autohop? (1)

TexVex (669445) | about 2 years ago | (#41927481)

My rule of thumb is to allocate 40 minutes to watch 1 hour of TV. The 20-minute difference is the duration of the advertisements less the time it takes to skip them.It works pretty well.

Re:They don't like autohop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928171)

That's what I call finely honed time management skills.

Re:They don't like autohop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928743)

Yeah i don't think its 15 minutes.
In the usa an hour long show will be a 38-40 minute show when i torrent it.
A half hour show will be 20-22 minutes.

20/10 and 40/20. Thats some bs.

And you're not counting all the overlays and network logos and tickers and scrolling ads for other shows while you watch any one show.

Either its better wherever you are. Or you're full of shit.

Re:They don't like autohop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928885)

If you really want to see the difference in the amount of time, you should watch older or nostalgic shows you know well. For example, episodes of TOS and TNG commonly have parts cut out. It is usually slightly shortening of scenes by cutting out linger (so instead of dialog followed by 2 seconds of walking out of shot, it becomes dialog and .5 second of walking out of the shot) or the similar thing on the other side by clipping the stuff before dialog in a scene. Also, they cut out the credit scroll at the end and on occasion at the beginning or replace fades with quick cuts. And that is the stuff I only notice because I have many of those memorized. They do more obvious stuff too, like cutting out whole scenes (an example off the top of my head is when they assimilate Picard and he has a single tear). As an aside, The Best of Both Worlds, Part I is not nearly as effective when edited to take all the atmosphere awa because they cut to quickly to have that sense of dread build in.

Re:They don't like autohop? (0)

GNious (953874) | about 2 years ago | (#41930121)

1-hour shows in the US are generally ~44 minutes when the ad-blocks are removed.

Re:They don't like autohop? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#41929217)

Why are you on /.? /. has ads too even in their stories! :P

Re:They don't like autohop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929503)

/. has ads in the comments

MS and Apple are all over this place.

Re:They don't like autohop? (2)

toejam13 (958243) | about 2 years ago | (#41929601)

At this point, I consider broadcast television to be a waste of my time. Roughly 25-30% of any given program is dedicated to advertisement. For a 30 minute show, this doesn't leave enough running time to have much depth in the story. You really need the full hour to do much. Even with hour-plus shows, the commercial blocks are now so long that you lose the suspense and drama that builds up, so why bother?

Also, the ads usually have little relevance for me. The majority of ads I see on television these days are targeted at seniors. That says a lot about the demographics of the people who are still left watching ads.

So I stopped watching most of the 30 minute shows and now resort to my DVR, Netflix, RedBox and other sources for the remaining content. Hulu really isn't one of them anymore now that they increased their ad count and refuse to make Hulu+ ad free.

My hope is that commercial supported television dies and is replaced by pay-per-view or subscription models. The technology is there, but media companies have huge ownership stakes in cable companies and are resistant to such change. Also, seniors living on fixed incomes consume a huge amount of television and would resist any change because they often have have little disposable income.

Were such a shift to occur, a bright spot would be the return of smarter content. Remember that advertisers dislike shows that draw in intelligent viewers because said viewers have better critical analysis skills and therefore are less swayed by commercials. Nix the ads and that barrier goes away.

Re:They don't like autohop? (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | about 2 years ago | (#41930961)

I let my DVR box get about 20 minute head start on show just so I can skip the ads.

You will get what you pay for... (5, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 years ago | (#41927157)

This just means "free" programming will become even more unwatchable.

I rarely watch live broadcast TV, and the other day I saw a show that had crap all over the screen - network bug in one corner, what I guess is a "twitter hashtag" in another corner - random "tweets" popping up... if not that then a crawl on the screen advertising when some OTHER show will come on, etc. etc. Let alone the full-on commercials.

As everyone uses a recorder and skips ads, the networks will have no choice but to embed ads into the content even deeper, if that is possible.

Even for "free" I don't want it. I, like others, am "this close" to canceling the tv portion of my cable bill altogether.

Re:You will get what you pay for... (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41927195)

It's not free when you have to pay to receive the 'broadcast'. If they want me to watch the ads, first they'll have to cover my subscription costs, and then they'll have to make the ads worth viewing. And also, the Betamax ruling says we are allowed to record shows for later viewing.

Re:You will get what you pay for... (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#41928501)

And also, the Betamax ruling says we are allowed to record shows for later viewing.

That was before DRM, the DMCA, Macrovision technology, and the broadcast flag.

Content providers can prevent recording and manipulation of their content, by encrypting it, and leveraging contractual relationships with cable and sat companies to require content by delivered DRM protected to certain hardware that meets certain security requirements such as HDCP and doesn't have specific capabilities (such as analog content export, and commercial skip).

Re:You will get what you pay for... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929259)

Fine.

At this point, I really don't care what all they demand. Its already off my radar.

If they want to ship me whatever it is that they demand I have in order to see their transmissions, fine - if its small enough and isn't too much of a hassle, I might even connect it instead of throwing it in the trash can along with all the other unsolicited crap I get in the mail.

I believe the networks have a completely different problem than they think they have. I believe the real problem is how to get people who have meaningful lives and work for a living to give them an audience. By pestering their potential customers with irritating ads and requirements for compliance, many customers are finding other things to do - and it no longer involves them.

I gave up going to the theater years ago, as I felt like such a fool paying for way overpriced popcorn while having ads peppering me from a screen I had paid hard cash for. If they intended to pepper me with ads at the theater, they could at least pay for my snacks.

No, I no longer know what the fashion trends are, what the latest thing to have is, I do not know much about the rockstar of the day is, and I really don't care much about it anymore. As far as I am concerned, I get more enjoyment tinkering with my arduinos and refrigeration systems, hoping one day to move to the "middle of nowhere" and enjoy the scenery of the desert and watch the wildlife.

I am tired of doing stuff I hate doing to get money to buy crap I am told to buy or be told people will think I am a backwards idiot.

Ok... I am a backwards idiot. I could care less about that fancy toy I have absolutely no use for. I'd rather have the time God gave me and enjoy watching the river flow and the animals grazing.

Just keep those ad-men in their buildings with their microphones, cameras, and endless streams of boring audiovisual fecal matter. I no longer get my emotional sustenance from their sewer. I am not plugged in. Hell, even Slashdot gets three orders of magnitude more of my attention than you do. Face it, you succeeded in doing what you were paid to do - annoy people like me so much that we no longer even attempt to view your proprietary content, just as I would not attempt to make a meal of something that came out the back end of a dog.

Re:You will get what you pay for... (2)

Formalin (1945560) | about 2 years ago | (#41927307)

Soon they will have the TV split into a nine part grid, with the show in the centre, and ads running constantly on the other 8 equal sized portions of the screen.

And they'll still have ads on the 'show' portion of the screen half the time.

Then you'll need to get a projector to get the show back to the size it is now.

More and more... whenever I see the internet bareback, or watch TV, or hear commercial radio broadcasts... I'm shocked by how excessive and incessant the advertising is. I don't remember it being quite that bad when I quit watching live TV / started using adblock / only listen to the public radio station.

Re:You will get what you pay for... (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 2 years ago | (#41927463)

Soon they will have the TV split into a nine part grid, with the show in the centre, and ads running constantly on the other 8 equal sized portions of the screen.

And they'll still have ads on the 'show' portion of the screen half the time.

That's what the TV shown in Idiocracy looked like as I recall...

It was ten years ago that I decided to "opt out" of TV, and I've never regretted it.

Re:You will get what you pay for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928855)

Adult Swim, timeshared with sister network Cartoon Network (if I'm not mistaken), does it quite well. It's just that Adult Swim logo bug on the screen. However, just once, did I see them do a countdown timer for another show, and that was brief during one episode of Bleach. I'm not too happy about that, but overall, Adult Swim tends to have a clean interface.

Oh, I forgot, there's the TV rating and closed caption symbol at the beginning, which I don't really count. Although, they could put that before the episode if they really wanted to do so.

I'd like to see that our cable subscriptions help pay for the networks so they don't have to be so reliant on commercials. But with that said, I mean without the greed behind it. What if we reach the situation where everyone digitally records ("DVRing") shows to watch with ad skipping (30 second skips)? Sure. we do notice some ads when skipping, except for the few of us who get so good at it none of them show.

Broadcast shows tend to have like 3 or 4 commercial breaks, so why not try something different? Shorten each break to about 20 seconds of commercials, so skipping becomes near pointless. Put the bulk of commercials after the show has ended. Commercials should really be the frosting on the cake, not the bread and butter for the network.

Screw 'em all. (3)

JustNiz (692889) | about 2 years ago | (#41927215)

It boggles my mind why everyone on a geek website buys products like this rather than just get an old PC, a TV tuner card and install Linux+mythTV on it.

I get to record and keep whatever I like for as long as I like and it auto-skips commercials too. Plus I can pipe tv all over the house over my home network. Best of all I own the box, can install what the hell I like on it, and the software is free.

Re:Screw 'em all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927455)

And the people who are lucky if they get one digital ota station? What good is the tuner card for them? (Such as myself). I have the hopper setup, and I also have an older spare pc with lubuntu installed running plex media server and twonky. This allows me to stream to my roku, but also utilize the whole home media option in the dish devices which *also* stream my MKV videos... which I ripped all of our dvds too (and have other movies/shows on there as well)

Overall, the dish hopper setup smokes what directv and Comcast offer in terms of "openness"... need more dvr space? Plug an external drive into one of the usb ports or the esata port. Want to watch your shows while you're away from home? Plug in the sling adaptor... you can now watch live stuff or stuff you dvr'ed.

It's a shame the Comcast setup at the in laws next door has Ethernet and usb ports but they don't do crap, and you cant even watch dvr'ed stuff in another room (yet anyhow.. my friend who works for a local company that develops software for embedded use told me they're working on stuff for Comcast that will enable those type features but doesn't know when Comcast will finally release the software update or new equipment)

Re:Screw 'em all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930951)

Overall, the dish hopper setup smokes what directv and Comcast offer in terms of "openness"... need more dvr space? Plug an external drive into one of the usb ports or the esata port. Want to watch your shows while you're away from home? Plug in the sling adaptor... you can now watch live stuff or stuff you dvr'ed.

My DTV DVR will use an external hard drive. It won't sling content, but I don't want to do that anyway.

Re:Screw 'em all. (4, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#41927657)

It boggles my mind why everyone on a geek website buys products like this rather than just get an old PC, a TV tuner card and install Linux+mythTV on it.

Linux+MythTV won't be a viable PVR option for many users until CableCard is cracked (or unless the FCC actually forces the cable companies to be platform agnostic, which seems very unlikely). OTA TV isn't good enough unless you want to be very limited in the shows you can watch.

Re:Screw 'em all. (4, Interesting)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 years ago | (#41927925)

I realize it gets no geek cred, but Windows Media Center works just fine with CableCard. It also doesn't require you to pay subscription fees for TV listings like MythTV does.

Oh and also integration with both Netflix and XBMC, I really want to like MythTV. It does a lot of things well but it can't do everything I need it to.

FCC requires IEEE-1394 unencrypted feed (5, Interesting)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#41928209)

The FCC also requires every cable provider to give you a set-top box (STB) that gives unencrypted access via a firewire (IEEE 1394) port. Look it up. Write down the requirement number. Call up your provider and tell them to give you a box with IEEE-1394 access to an unencrypted feed.

:>)

Reference: 1394 interface as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for a functional 1394 interface in the STB [1394ta.org]

1394 Trade Association sez : http://www.1394ta.org/press/TAPress/2010_0622.html [1394ta.org]

Re:FCC requires IEEE-1394 unencrypted feed (2)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 2 years ago | (#41929417)

Sure, technically that's a requirement. But any programming flagged Copy Never can't be sent over it, and as for everything else, what are you going to feed it to? There isn't any readily available software that can take advantage of that feature, so it goes unused even by geeks.

Re:FCC requires IEEE-1394 unencrypted feed (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#41929455)

Call up your provider and tell them to give you a box with IEEE-1394 access to an unencrypted feed.

You think that will seriously work? The tier 1 and 2 reps aren't in a position to do anything about this. Most know nothing about the government mandates that apply to the company they work for. They only know what their supervisors tell them. And between the government and the people who sign their paychecks, who do you think they're going to listen to?

A law is only a law if someone enforces it.

Until someone actually takes he cablecos to court for this, they will continue to not offer these boxes.

Re:FCC requires IEEE-1394 unencrypted feed (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 2 years ago | (#41931573)

The FCC also requires every cable provider to give you a set-top box (STB) that gives unencrypted access via a firewire (IEEE 1394) port. Look it up. Write down the requirement number. Call up your provider and tell them to give you a box with IEEE-1394 access to an unencrypted feed.

:>)

Reference: 1394 interface as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for a functional 1394 interface in the STB [1394ta.org]

1394 Trade Association sez : http://www.1394ta.org/press/TAPress/2010_0622.html [1394ta.org]

Yes, but cable shows can be flagged to not be sent unencrypted across the firewire port. The only requirement they have is to pass through the OTA shows via that port. Which means you haven't solved anything.

Re:Screw 'em all. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41928235)

my ota myth setup gets PBS and maybe 2 other stations that -sometimes- have watchable content.

when pbs is good, its great. when its bad, its just boring, but not crass.

can't stand the other channels. stopped getting sat tv over 5 years ago. cable stopped long before that.

if tv sucks, then I end up watching less tv! that's really a good side-effect. it is! spend the balance online, where its at least active and not passive (tv really is too passive).

Re:Screw 'em all. (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#41929271)

Not everyone can get OTA too because of their locations. My parents' home is blocked by a giant hill/mountain. :(

Re:Screw 'em all. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 2 years ago | (#41931465)

It seems several people here mistakenly think MythTV can only do OTA, which is not true.
I use mine exclusively with cable. My TV card is a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2200, (it can record 2 channels concurrently, supports both analog and digital). I go straight off the cable (both the card and MythTV support QAM) but there are also many ways you can get MythTV to control and take an input from a cable box too. MythTV also supports several cable card tuners.
 

Re:Screw 'em all. (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41930233)

HDFury + HD-PVR.
It won't go beyond 1080i, but MythTV/VDPAU deinterlacing turns 1080i into something perfectly watchable while keeping disk usage low.

Re:Screw 'em all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928283)

Is there a Netflix of pr0n that would work with this setup? Watch on TV, pipe to any TV or PC in the house, and record during off hours? Download from websites, etc. automatically at night instead of using flash downloader, etc.? How about an open source pr0n DVR? No torrents, just legal stuff.

Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927231)

Reading over some of the comments made me think and laugh a bit. A lot of the people I know, including myself, only really watch television because of Netflix. Even television torrenting has gone down a lot for me in the last couple of years. With things to watch/read online, and actual hobbies, TV just really isn't worth it.

Long time reader firsttime slashvertisement whiner (1)

IKnwThePiecesFt (693955) | about 2 years ago | (#41927255)

"Its Hopper digital video recorder can record and store prime-time content from the four major networks for up to eight days. And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button."

Okay, half of that is relevant, the other half (hell, the whole thing) feels like it's pulled straight from the ads for it.

Ironic, no?

Re:Long time reader firsttime slashvertisement whi (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41929977)

Okay, half of that is relevant

And the part that describes the exact feature that has caused this all to end up in court isn't?

They charge Dish Network to carry them, right? (3, Interesting)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 2 years ago | (#41927277)

This is the thing that has bothered me since the (1996?) law was changed, allowing "free" broadcast channels to charge cable and satellite operators to carry them. If they had to rely on OTA viewers, their ratings (and thusly, their advertising revenue) would go to shit. Cable and satellite providers boost these ratings, making their commercial revenue much greater... but they get to double dip?

The way I see it, when they charge for access to their programming, commercials are no longer a relevant part of the "ecosystem" - they are no different from HBO or Showtime, since they collect fees for every viewer on that system. In that respect, skipping commercials are fair game.

Seems fairly simple.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41927309)

All they need to do is figure out how Autohop works, and then redesign their advertisements so that they defeat feature. Some are based on volume detection... all the network would need to do to defeat that is have the commercials at the same volume level as the programming (which would have the upshot from the network's point of view that the commercials would be less annoying, and people might be less reluctant to sit through them).

Also, they would be smart to make commercials of various durations.... some 15 seconds, some 20, some 35, and so on, so that a simple time-based skip won't accurately skip any given commercial either.

It won't stop people from manually fastforwarding through commercials, but I see no reason that it could not prevent a tv recording appliance from recognizing where the commercials are so that they can be automatically skipped.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about 2 years ago | (#41927363)

In the US they are supposed to not be making the commercials louder than the program material starting next year, so assuming that this is followed (no guarantees as there are plenty of tricks that can be played with audio compression) any commercial avoidance scheme based on sound levels will not work so well any more when this is introduced.

-I'm just sayin

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

ais523 (1172701) | about 2 years ago | (#41928967)

Hopefully the rules will require them to be no louder both in terms of peak level, and in terms of root-mean-square. That shuts down most of the potential abuses.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41927401)

The only problem with that is that the likes of MythTV are in the same arms race. As soon as any open source project figures out how to deal with the the new scheme, EVERYONE will ( including Dish).

Although we may be quickly reaching the point where it just doesn't matter anymore.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927493)

On the last season of Gruen Planet, Russell Howcroft of Y&R Brands said that people manually fast-forwarding through ads actually improved retention of the last ad in each slot becasue they had to pay attention to the breaks.

However, I remember having a VCR which did ad-skipping automatically about 15 years ago, and that used information broadcast outside the visual frame to do it.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41931523)

Good. That just means I'll remember not to buy that product. If I remember your advertising you get no sale from me.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

kbrannen (581293) | about 2 years ago | (#41927805)

Last I heard, the FCC requires them to put 1 totally black frame before the commercial break and 1 just after (before the show starts again). If that's true, then to defeat this, they would have to get the FCC to change that ruling. Maybe they can, maybe they can't, but looking for 1 totally black frame makes skipping pretty easy.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928151)

Then they would start putting black frames in the content, causing you to miss most of the content, causing the devices to stop using that method.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928225)

So put an even number of black frames during the commercial breaks.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928465)

Two in a row would be easy to program around, but scatter them in between the commercials randomly, that might help.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#41928553)

All they need to do is figure out how Autohop works, and then redesign their advertisements so that they defeat feature. Some are based on volume detection... all the network would need to do to defeat that is have the commercials at the same volume level as the programming

There is another option..... attempt to trick Autohop into thinking parts of the programming are commercials, so that they wind up skipping highly noticeable chunks of actual programming.

People will be less inclined to use the feature, if it results in them missing important parts of the show.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

ProfBooty (172603) | about 2 years ago | (#41928597)

Commericals are generically detected through:

switch from stereo to mono
black frames
cue tones

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41928877)

1) Detecting a switch from stereo to mono is bypassed by broadcasting commercials in the same audio format as the program.

2)This can result in false positives by having black frames between scenes in the programming.

3)What if they didn't utilize any cue tones?

There's no theoretical reason that a commercial could not be made completely indistinguishable from the broadcasted program by an automated appliance without developing an AI that is about as intelligent as a human being.

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#41929561)

on some networks you can tell merely by a change in loudness

Re:Seems fairly simple.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41930101)

Which can also easily be defeated by not altering the volume level for commercials (it's my understanding that this is soon going to be illegal for networks to do anyways).

There's absolutely no theoretical reason you could not make commercials indistinguishable from the programming to anything other than a living human being.

Ah The Beauty... (3, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#41927585)

This is the joy that is Fox's core demographic. They're... quite forgetful, you see. You'll understand when you reach that age. So they need frequent... nay... CONSTANT reminders to buy gold, erectile dysfunction drugs and adult diapers. If the stream of advertising stops for EVEN A MOMENT, Fox's audience will immediately become gold-free, limp, damp shadows of their former selves, wallowing in their own filth. Look! It's HAPPENING ALREADY!

A good result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41927739)

While this was mostly a good thing, what I would like to have seen is the court heavily fine Dish for the stupid commercials for the hopper. Every single person involved with the creation of that commercial needs to be exterminated.

Awesome news for dish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928087)

That is until every network pulls their channels from Dish network. Then they are screwed.

Great! (0)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41928177)

'destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.'

Hooray!
No.

Yay!!!
No.

SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!
Yessss!!!

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929427)

seconded, screw the barstuds.

Replay Tv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928447)

I had this years ago in a dvrcalled replay tv. Loved it. Since the 90s i have not watched a commercial. I will have.to check out myth tv from above.

Ouch! Right in the business model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41928769)

It's like the groin shot of the media corporations: painful for them, funny to everyone else.

Ugh (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929079)

Ads are exactly why I don't watch prime time television. I grab scene releases of all the tv shows I watch. Sickbeard handles the fetching of all my new TV shows, automatically grabs old episodes of new shows I've added, etc. I still pay for a full cable package, with all the extras, so I don't feel bad about downloading, however due to the law as it is, what I'm doing is still technically illegal.

Broadcast Television has largely become a joke. In my opinion a lot of shows out there shouldn't even exist, and other good ones were cancelled after a season or two for whatever reason. I see in the future, Shows taking a pause part way through to endorse product X and Y, like they did in the 50's with radio dramas.

Most of the time, Networks broadcast shows based on how much money they'll make, not for any artistic value the show might possess

I have strong moral objections to shows like Two and a half men, where charlie sheen was being paid what, $13M per episode? Or these dream wedding shows where folks with an undeserved sense of self worth, drop more money than most people will see in a lifetime, for a wedding? Oh Lawd give me strength.

I would like to see producers of content cut out the media giants, and sell their products directly to the home subscriber. Technologically this is quite feasible, and could plausibly result in higher revenues for the people that matter, those directly involved with the show.

Re:Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929457)

At the peak of his Two and a Half Men career, Charlie Sheen was making $1.25 million per episode. That amount grows to $2 million when you include back end syndication points.

still disgusting, but at least spread around the right numbers.

Re:Ugh (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929473)

same AC, in retrospect that came across wayyy over dickish. Those just happen to be the disgusting numbers heh.

no worries

Simple Fix: Make Ads Fun to Watch (2)

ShoulderOfOrion (646118) | about 2 years ago | (#41929363)

Like the Allstate Mayhem commercials. In my long-ago youth I remember ads being much more entertaining and unobtrusive. I was never annoyed by the Dolly Madison commercials during the Peanuts holiday season specials--it actually seems like something is missing when I watch the Peanuts specials on DVD without them. How about Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" Just a few years back the K9 Advantix "Hello Father Hello Mother" puppy commercial was great.

These days it's the same old sterile erectile-dysfunction ad played over and over again until you're ready to throw a heavy object at the screen. Sadly, LCDs don't produce the same satisfying BOOM the old CRTs did.

I have a few suggestions for some really funny erectile dysfunction ads. If anyone from Madison Ave is interested in hearing them, call me.

Re:Simple Fix: Make Ads Fun to Watch (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41931557)

Sorry, advertising is objectionable no matter how entertaining it is. I will not have my purchasing decisions manipulated by marketers.

youtube ads (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#41929545)

can i get an autohop program to get rid of fucking youtube ads?... i started youtubing because i was sick of ads on tv and now even youtube is being infected by the ad virus

No. It's a feature. (0)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#41929803)

And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button.

So... It can now do what my MythTV system could do since ... forever?

Underpinnings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41929805)

"destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem"

Good. Them underpinnings are starting to get on my nerves.

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