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Court Upholds Ruling On Dish Network's 'Hopper'

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the hop-away dept.

Television 248

An anonymous reader writes "The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of Dish Network, allowing the company to continue forward with it ad-skipping "Hopper" technology. From the article: 'Last year, Fox Broadcasting Company, with the support of other broadcast networks, sued Dish for its "Hopper" DVR and its "Auto Hop" feature, which automatically skips over commercials. According to the Fox, the Hopper automatically records eight days' worth of prime time programming on the four major networks that subscribers can play back on request. Beginning a few hours after the broadcast, viewers can choose to watch a program without ads. As we observed when the it started, this litigation was yet another in a long and ignominious series of efforts by content owners to use copyright law to control the features of personal electronic devices, and to capture for themselves the value of new technologies no matter who invents them.'"

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First (-1, Offtopic)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year ago | (#44376953)

First?

Down the line... (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#44377223)

I agree that the decision is sensible in that it allows you to use your own gear at least somewhat as you would choose to (certainly they are not letting us use our gear "freely"), still, one has to consider what a broadcast entity dependent upon advertising revenues will do if those ads no longer generate cash.

One fairly obvious path is "product placement", where the "ad" is in the show with some character brandishing, using, or otherwise making a point about it. That can be subtle... or it could be quite heavy-handed. There are other paths, some of which end with the disruption or even collapse of the broadcast entity -- if the advertising shifts context -- say, to billboards -- then there's no funding going to the broadcast entity, so now what? Or you might find yourself taxed, a' la PBS or the BBC, in order that these entities have operating funds. Some might applaud that, but some will scream bloody murder about the additional levy.

Anyway, since ads do almost entirely support a lot of these entities, if you kill the viability of the ad to any serious degree, you can expect some kind of consequential change on the horizon.

Re:Down the line... (-1, Offtopic)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44377307)

I hope your karma is up to this. You're gonna get pounded.

Re:Down the line... (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44377555)

I hope your karma is up to this. You're gonna get pounded.

No, he's not going to get pounded, because his point is valid.

The tacit agreement is being changed. The agreement that has held since television was invented, namely that you take the advertising along with the programming, is being renegotiated.

Its not the GP's fault, he is just the messenger.

The producers of the programming will have to find a new source of revenue, because nobody works for free. You can expect them to change the terms under which the programming is provided. You will see embedded advertising, or high fees for all programming. Or some as yet unimagined method of revenue replacement.

But one thing is certain, nobody works for free. Nobody eats for free, except prison inmates. So maybe we can put those guys to work producing content?

I'd like to see the numbers as to how much an episode of your typical tv show costs. From concept through production, and delivery to your TV.
If you could subscribe only to the specific programs that you wanted, and in doing so receive them free of advertising, but pay all costs via your fees, , what would your cost per hour be?

Re:Down the line... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377707)

The tacit agreement has been broken for a long time as the networks have continued to lower the value of the content and raise the "price" (number of ad minutes per minute of programming) to ridiculous levels. Watching June Cleaver talk about how Palm Olive made her hands soft while doing dishes at the end of the show vs. 3 minutes of ads for tampons, antidepressants, beer, Chrysler, personal injury attorneys, car insurance, pizza snacks, and GEICO before watching another 5 minutes of the newest SyFy shark/bear/icthysaurus hybrid (ick on all levels) are really worlds apart. Oh yeah, and that on top of paying $70/month to Comcast (remember when cable was advertising-free?) for that in the first place!

Re:Down the line... (2)

ashkante (1714490) | about a year ago | (#44378083)

I very much agree with this. Not to mention that the quality of ads themselves has gone down the drain.

Re:Down the line... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378413)

No, he's not going to get pounded, because his point is valid.

You must be new here (on /. AND on Earth). Having a valid point is often the reason you get pounded.

Re:Down the line... (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44377455)

Watching The Walking Dead doesn't make me want to buy a Hyundai SUV.

Re:Down the line... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377601)

Are you sure? The fact that you even knew that means the advertising did its job.

Re:Down the line... (1)

cyborg_zx (893396) | about a year ago | (#44378197)

He burns all Hyundai on sight just incase...

Re:Down the line... (3, Funny)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#44377617)

Of course not. They're just buying potential access to your attention for a minute or so. It's up to them to figure out how to make an ad that does make you want to buy an SUV. All the show delivers is your ass on a couch in a situation where you are more likely to see their ad. Sure you might go to the bathroom, or get some food, but you might just sit there and listen to how their SUV has features and warranties and all that other stuff.

Re:Down the line... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44378351)

Hyundai pay to have the main character vehicle be a Hyundai. I'm not talking about regular ads but product placement.

Re:Down the line... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378665)

Damn, I bought the wrong car. I thought it was a Subaru.

Re:Down the line... (4, Interesting)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year ago | (#44377467)

On OTA TV I tolerate advertisement because I can pick up the signal for free. On the other hand, people have to pay for fucking cable/satellite service and they still get ads. Back when I got cable I was upset because I couldn't a-la-carte the channels I really wanted so I was stuck paying for a bunch of shit I had no interest in watching. Broadcasters/channels get no sympathy from me because cable simply isn't worth paying for. I make do with OTA.

Re:Down the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377829)

I had always assumed that you pay your provider for access to the channels, to cover your provider's costs. The advertisements on these channels pay for the actual channels themselves and the programming. So this "I already paid!" thing never really made sense to me.

Re:Down the line... (2)

pallmall1 (882819) | about a year ago | (#44377873)

Do Comcast and VIACOM know this?

Re:Down the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378085)

And, even still. Just because you pay for something doesn't mean you are paying the entire cost. i.e. perhaps some of the cable fees are going to the content producers, but that doesn't mean that those fees are enough to cover the cost of producing the content.

You can find lots of discounts on vacations by agreeing to sit through a time share presentation. You pay a reduced rate for your accommodations *and* you get advertised to, because the rate that you pay isn't enough to cover the entire cost, and nor is the advertising revenue.

They have already been paid by Dish (4, Insightful)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44377567)

...one has to consider what a broadcast entity dependent upon advertising revenues will do if those ads no longer generate cash.

That is certainly the argument Fox used. What they conveniently left out is that Fox collects retransmission fees from Dish [thewrap.com] .

In fact, Dish was at one time forced to drop Fox programming [ntca.org] because, according to Dish [shareholder.com] :-

FOX is demanding a new contract with an unprecedented rate increase of more than 50 percent.

In addition, the broadcast networks including Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC have demanded that its affiliates hand over a percentage of the money they receive from local cable operators that retransmit their signals. [latimes.com]

Broadcasters used to be content with the money they took in from advertisers, which supported "free" over-the-air television. But in recent years as broadcasters have lost viewers to cable and advertisers are shifting to the Internet, stations have been seeking new sources of revenue by demanding payment from cable and satellite companies for the right to retransmit their programming.

News Corp.'s Fox is not the only network seeking a slice of its affiliates' retransmission fees. CBS, ABC and NBC are also negotiating for a percentage. However, there is a consensus that Fox is being the most aggressive of the networks. None of the Big Three has yet threatened to drop its local affiliate if it doesn't get the money.

While the corporate skirmishing is waged far above the heads of TV viewers, it is likely to have a real-world effect on households that pay for cable or satellite service — about 90% of all TV-watching homes in the country — in the form of higher monthly rates as local providers look to make up the difference.

Basically, its all about the money. The broadcasting networks have already been paid by retransmission fees and are double dipping into advertising fees.

Re:Down the line... (1)

crossmr (957846) | about a year ago | (#44377741)

In Hawaii 5-0 the product placement is ridiculously heavy. A character can't walk 2 feet without needing to hold up their windows phone and make an unnecessary skype call, and it's apparently impossible to catch a bad guy in anything but a chevy. They are how to do it wrong.

Re:Down the line... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year ago | (#44377865)

You do realize you PAY for cable, right? The commercials were something that were introduced slowly over time until people just accepted them as normal. All in the name of the cable companies making more money. I ALREADY PAY THEM FOR SERVICE! If they can't make a profit charing me $100/month without getting ad revenue they probably need to find a new business model.

Re: Down the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378425)

If they can get you to keep paying for a service that feel is overpriced then their business model is working just fine.

Re:Down the line... (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44378045)

Or you might find yourself taxed, a' la PBS or the BBC, in order that these entities have operating funds. Some might applaud that, but some will scream bloody murder about the additional levy.

If it happens that we rid ourselves of commercials AND get something like another PBS or BBC, then I can tolerate a lot of screaming from some people.

Re:Down the line... (3, Interesting)

crioca (1394491) | about a year ago | (#44378245)

if you kill the viability of the ad to any serious degree, you can expect some kind of consequential change on the horizon.

Collapse of the broadcast entity? Why would I have a problem with this? The “broadcast entity” is the favoured medium of the copyright cartels, who’re doing their best to make the interaction between artist and audience as painful as possible so they can continue on in their role as intermediary. At the same time like any business they want to maximise their profits and minimize their risk. Only “risk” here takes the form of investing in new content, meaning that originality and experimentation are deemed as negative values.

The collapse of the broadcast entity would speed up the disintermediation between artist and audience and expose new streams of revenue and financing. We’d end up with more artists making more money, producing more content that costs less.

Re:Down the line... (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#44378469)

So you're suggesting that this could lead to the disappearance of Fox?
Bring it on!

Re:Down the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378653)

You have some sort of point about their need to make money. But they already place commercials right over the show your watching. (those annoying banner adds.) And then there's the other thing: I don't need 200 channels showing reruns 24/7, so I really don't see why I should care about how they make their money.

Hey... (5, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44377001)

This is about "broadcast" networks. They can't have their cake, and eat it, too. In exchange for getting use of public airwaves to make a profit, the public has a right to use what's broadcast.

Next step - in what way is putting content on the public airwaves not placing it in the public domain?

Re:Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377025)

Next step - in what way is putting content on the public airwaves not placing it in the public domain?

THANK YOU.

MOD THIS GUY UP.

Re:Hey... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377105)

Next step - in what way is putting content on the public airwaves not placing it in the public domain?

This isn't a public airwave, it's Dish network's private infrastructure. Though if it were totally public content, a certain hooknosed, curly-haired, business-talented demographic with roots in the Middle East would find a way to make it belong to them, and to tax you twice for the public infrastructure they run -- with the second "tax" flowing mandated on you but flowing right into their pockets. They're why America is bogged down in illegal and otherwise irrational wars in the Middle-East. If they can order around the most powerful country in the world, they can order you around.

Re:Hey... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377151)

Niggers?

Re:Hey... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377171)

Did this really just devolve into anti-Semitism? FFS...

Re:Hey... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44377291)

Some one Godwin this THREAD NOW.

Re: Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377417)

Hitler would Godwin this thread.

Re:Hey... (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44378545)

Some one Godwin this THREAD NOW.

Don't tell me what to do. You're worse than Hitler!

Re:Hey... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377113)

Hi,

I'm an exec from a local broadcasting firm. I've read your post and I think I understand your concerns.

Let me just reiterate that we're going to have our cake, eat it and then sleep with your wife or girlfriend while I snort coke off your mother's ass. And you're going to love it because we say so.

Best Regards,
Friendly Broadcast Executive

PS Fuck You - LOL I posted this from my private jet.

Re:Hey... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377463)

Let me just reiterate that we're going to have our cake, eat it and then sleep with your wife or girlfriend [...].

Just make sure that she doesn't deflate on you. She has a tendency to do that when things are a bit rough.

Re:Hey... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377133)

Ad's suck but a few on free content is understandable. Besides the crap programs what made me dump both cable and sat were the high priced packaged junk channels just to get a few shows and those fucken endless ad's. If paying for service there should be no ad's. Broadcast is a pig because they already gets paid from fees. Dish sucks too but in this case, good for Dish!

Re: Hey... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377407)

Ads suck. All paid content should be ad free.

Greedy rich people are stealing from the poor using a state sponsored monopoly system with century long "rights".

Advertising is the reason most of you are unhappy and broke - that's the goal. It's the focus of evil in the world today.

Re: Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377203)

Right!

Re:Hey... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44377233)

This is about "broadcast" networks. They can't have their cake, and eat it, too. In exchange for getting use of public airwaves to make a profit, the public has a right to use what's broadcast.

Difficulty level: Encrypted transmission and subscription required != "Public".

Next step - in what way is putting content on the public airwaves not placing it in the public domain?

Ah, copyright law. Let me explain this quickly... "This previously public broadcast, re-encoded, is now copyright me, all rights reserved for the next 150 years plus however long it takes me to die." Next question please. No really, that's pretty much how it works.

Re:Hey... (3, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44377387)

Difficulty level: Encrypted transmission and subscription required != "Public".

Which of the four major networks are broadcasting an encrypted signal that requires a subscription?

Difficulty level: the four major networks want their signals when carried by Dish Network to be treated differently than what someone can receive OTA. Same content, different rules.

"This previously public broadcast, re-encoded, is now copyright me,

Dish Network is not claiming copyright on the content they "re-encode", the copyright stays with the originator. But the originator is looking for different rights depending on the transmission medium. Almost like trying to say "if you watch this program on channel 13-1 OTA you have the right to timeshift it, but if you watch it on 17-2 OTA you don't."

Re:Hey... (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44377471)

You don't have the right to re-broadcast something your received OTA.
If Dish Network want to re-broadcast something, they need permission. If they want to alter it, creating a derivative work for commercial use, they need further permission.

Re: Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377523)

"Rights" are just whatever people want them to be.

Re:Hey... (3, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#44378091)

If Dish Network want to re-broadcast something, they need permission. If they want to alter it, creating a derivative work for commercial use, they need further permission.

I don't know how Dish works currently, but when I had their service the receiver hooked up to a antenna for OTA bradcast TV, separate from the satellite dish. Dish Network was not rebroadcasting it.

And if fast-forwarding through a copy of some content that you possess (whatever its origin) is "creating a derivative work", then anyone using any sort of reference book who doesn't start reading it from the beginning each time is screwed.

I used to have (well, still have but never use) a ReplayTV PVR [wikipedia.org] that had a similar commercial skipping feature. (There was a lawsuit about it but it was dropped when the company went bankrupt; later models omitted the feature.) All it did was automate what I'd been doing with a VCR (yes, I am ancient of days) for years, hitting fast-forward to skip the noise. So long as the device is just fulfilling the request of its user to skip forward to a different part of the content, there is no "derivative work", no "rebroadcast", and the data's so-called "owners" can get stuffed.

Re:Hey... (4, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44378397)

I was under the impression they cut the ads out then rebroadcast it. That's copyright infringement.

Turns out the DVR uses closed captions and other meta data to do the cutting on the DVR. That's protected fair use time-shifting. It's also going to be vulnerable to the networks altering the meta data to trick the DVR into not skipping certain ads - they could charge a premium for those...

Dish have a few patents that describe this.

Re:Hey... (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44377373)

Give me box that I can hook up to my cable box and record everything for several days on as many channels as I want. Well, at least 10 or so. In this world of $50 terabyte drives this should be possible. I have no issue with what the broadcast channels fighting dish on this. The real criminals are the cable channels that fight to keep the content, that maybe only 100 people watch, back in the 50's and away from time shifting and commercial skipping.

Re:Hey... (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44377485)

Buy a TiVo or three. They come with up to 4 tuners these days. How you're going to find time to watch 10x realtime video, you'll need to figure out (let alone why you would want to watch that amount of pablum).

Re:Hey... (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44378357)

I doubt the intent is to watch it all. Rather, the intent is to capture it all and then get to choose after the fact which shows to watch and which to delete.

That way if someone tells you how great show X was last night you can go home and watch it.

Re:Hey... (2)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | about a year ago | (#44378723)

Hmmm, sounds a lot like the NSA's approach....

Re:Hey... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44377465)

You mean the public airwaves they pay millions of dollars to use? Spectrum is auctioned, not given away.

Re:Hey... (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44377517)

Cite please, for TV spectrum.

Re:Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377629)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_2008_wireless_spectrum_auction

Re:Hey... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377811)

Uuuuuuu, fuck your Citation needed. That AC that posted the wiki link pwned that azz. You thought you were being cute and figured he wouldn't be able to put up or shut up. He put it up, so you need to shut the fuck up.

Re:Hey... (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44378365)

They pay for exclusive use of a slice, but there are other conditions attached.

Kinda like you pay rent on your apartment but the lease doesn't grant you the right to open a head shop in your living room.

Re:Hey... (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44377565)

They paid for the privilege of using the airwaves. Licensing fees are huge.
But your point becomes moot in the case of cable.

Re:Hey... (0)

Eskarel (565631) | about a year ago | (#44377583)

Except you see that's total bullshit. The "exchange" for using the public airwaves is billions in licensing fees paid to the government, not providing you with content for free. They don't owe you jack.

Second, if you take away their revenue stream(ie ads), then they will stop paying for those airwaves and stop producing content.

Re:Hey... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44378543)

Next step - in what way is putting content on the public airwaves not placing it in the public domain?

In what way is it placing the content in the public domain?
 
Or maybe you're unaware of how anything becomes public domain, it's just a buzzphrase to you. You repeat it like a parrot or a three year old without a single clue as to what it actually means.

FTFY (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44377011)

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed...

What, that us unwashed masses can still use VCR-like features on modern equipment? Huzzah! So glad our courts are clogged up like a fat southern guy's arteries with pointless legal meanderings. What other landmark rulings can I hope to read soon... books in electronic format can be loaned just like regular books? That linking to a page on the internet shouldn't warrant 10 years in prison under the Computer Fraud Act of... whatever?

Where's a billion dollar frivolous landsuit and contempt of court ruling when you need one, guys? These corporations are killing the court system, and you're dealing with it about as well as that diabetic fat dude I just mentioned is when he neglects to take his shots. You're gonna get tingles at the extremities, and before you know it, you'll be deaf, blind, stupid, and having your bowels cleaned out by orderlies because you can't even shit right in a few years at this rate.

Re:FTFY (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a year ago | (#44377065)

fat?deaf?blind?stupid? point made at fat.

Re:FTFY (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44377211)

fat?deaf?blind?stupid? point made at fat.

This is the internet, man. You don't just make points here, you pull out a fucking bat and you beat it into them until they stop twitching. And then hit them a couple more times, move to Florida, and claim the other guy threatened your position and you were just Standing Your Ground.

Why is it that when I think of advertisers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377055)

My mind picture a filthy overfed rat that when cornered sues because it's not smart enough to do anything else to overcome those who are smart enough to wipe their annoying crap out? They get the biggest budgets and expense accounts of any section of any company generally too. I guess money, their god, doesn't solve all problems.

Re:Why is it that when I think of advertisers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377083)

Instead of a rat, I see a jew. Well, same difference really.

Re:Why is it that when I think of advertisers (1)

jdogalt (961241) | about a year ago | (#44377281)

Bill Hicks had a good bit about advertisers you might like-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo [youtube.com]

And for my opinion of the biggest marketer hypocrisy going on lately-

https://medium.com/editors-picks/5a2d9322bdc4 [medium.com]

headline: FCC orders Google to Respond to Net Neutrality Complaint; Once the biggest backer, now a potential violator

Future problems..... (1, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about a year ago | (#44377103)

What i see with this ruling in dish's favor causing some big issues when broadcasting contracts are up for renewal. they will be demanding more money from dish.

Re:Future problems..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377611)

If Dish's fights with Fox Sports Network, Viacom, and AMC are any indication, they'll just drop those channels from their line-up while they hash out the contracts. Remarkably, Dish customers actually like it when their satellite provider fights to keep their bills from going up.

Does FOX have standing? (3, Funny)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44377187)

According to the Fox, the Hopper automatically records eight days' worth of prime time programming on the four major networks...

Ummm, This, Discovery, USA and BBC-AM? If the Hopper records only the four major networks, FOX has no standing to sue because they aren't involved.

Re:Does FOX have standing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377331)

ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox.

Re:Does FOX have standing? (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44377743)

PBS was before Fox. Fox is the 5th network (unless you also want to count the former DuMont network).. PBS is a major network in the OTA broadcast arena. Saying "4 major networks" is misleading. Maybe they meant "4 major greedy networks" or something like that.

Re:Does FOX have standing? (0)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#44377841)

PBS is funded by taxes and therefore commie infiltration into our Great American Homes(tm). In America, Capitalism rules the day so if you ain't making a profit, you ain't shit. PBS was about the only channel I could pick up out in the sticks. My childhood would have been alot less fullfilling without it. I mean seriously, who in 1980's America would have ever gotten to see Dr. Who? without PBS? Red Dwarf too.

They can try to defeat te tech (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year ago | (#44377195)

This Ad skipping technology can be defeated by keeping: -

1: Avoiding abrupt volume increases,
2: Avoiding abrupt changes in scene colour saturation,
3: Keeping the network logo on during commercials,
4: Randomly playing commercials. I have come to be in position to predict when a commercial is coming on.

Someone should develop the tech...or even better, patent it.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377245)

Just use product placement.

I just Binged it on my Nokia(tm) Lumia(tm) 920, but browsing pages and pages of results in my trusty Internet Explorer(tm) I couldn't find any works on reliably blocking product placement - not even from such tech giants with huge experience in computer vision field as Microsoft Research(tm).

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378735)

Or just stop trying to sell TV viewers and instead just collect your share of the huge amount of money they're already willing to pay for content.

But that doesn't work for "major networks" because they don't make content, and in a system where content is the product networks have no value.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (3, Interesting)

Huntr (951770) | about a year ago | (#44377251)

None of that would work because Dish technicians actually watch the broadcasts and manually record when the commercial breaks start and stop.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377311)

Wait, there's a job that involves simply watching the TV all day long? Dang, and they say I've no marketable skills.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44377329)

Madre di dios.

I hope those folks get paid well and have good mental health benefits. It would be like screening for child porn - you'd never be the same.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (1)

Huntr (951770) | about a year ago | (#44377395)

I don't know about how many hours each tech watches on his shift or anything like that, but, I agree, that job sounds horrid.

Unfortunately, Dish is annually named as 1 of the worst companies to work for in America. There was a blurb just a few days ago on that in the Wall St Journal/HuffPo/etc.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (1)

eWarz (610883) | about a year ago | (#44377593)

I don't know, i find dish to be better than directv. Everyone I've known who has had directv (about 8 people so far) has had issues with them silently renewing contracts and charging the customer an ETF when they want to cancel. We had no such issues with dish when we cut the cord.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year ago | (#44377765)

That's not what he said. Dish Network is better for its customers that Direct TV, sure, but Dish Network is the worst company in America to its own employees. Which sucks, since otherwise I've been happy with them for 10 years, but I don't want to support a company that is that bad to its workers. I guess I'll switch to Google TV next year after all.

Wow, it sounds terrible (3, Interesting)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#44377605)

You probably read it this article [businessweek.com] .

At Dish headquarters in Englewood, a suburb of Denver, the day begins no later than 9 a.m. Badges used to be the preferred method of entry into the building. But a few years ago, after noticing that some employees were taking advantage of the system by having others badge-in for them, Ergen upgraded to fingerprint scanners. If a worker is late, an e-mail is immediately sent to human resources, which then sends another to that person’s boss, and sometimes directly to Ergen.

Or maybe on AOL [aol.com]

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about a year ago | (#44377675)

Given a copy of the broadcast on a computer with a jog wheel to control the fast forward and rewind, I doubt it would take long, especially given that most ads are scheduled to occur at more or less standard intervals. It can't be harder than what people with DVRs have to put up with now to fast forward past ads.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378309)

at most it would take 30-45 minutes to manually mark the start and end points of commercial breaks on 12-15 hrs of video... you dont need to watch entire programs to do that, just skip forward/back at various speeds until you can pinpoint the marks.

takes us about 5 minutes per hour of video to do the same thing to analog captures on 10yr old hardware.. much of that time is just the main file operation (basically reading the entire 2gb file and then resaving it without the unwanted bits).. newer hardware would likely cut the total time time in half.

whatever batch process and encoders they have would do the rest of the work (which can combine the segment cutting and encoding into one process).. at least at realtime speed with reasonable hardware... that's where the lead-tiime before commercial skipping is available comes from.. not in that people actually sit and watch every minute of every primetime broadcast on each of the networks.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378437)

What would work is to then give all your affiliates the same shows but with different commercial break periods.

Re:They can try to defeat te tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378529)

Commercial breaks are inserted in the act breaks of the tv episodes. Have you never noticed that? They don't just stick a commercial in the middle of a scene. Just like plays and moves are divided into acts made up of multiple scenes each, so are tv shows. They don't want to mess with that.

Well watch what happens next. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44377325)

Viacom, Disney and other content owners will start jacking up the prices on Dish for revenue lost from commercials, they'll have those mexican stand offs where Viacom for example ups the rates, Dish refuses to pay and eventually does. Then the consumer gets the bill.

Actually I remember when Cable first started appearing in neighborhoods and it wasn't all commercials and going to cable meant you weren't inundated with every Billy Mays ad out there. Now every Cable Channel is 20 mins of programming, 10 mins commercials per half hour. It's bad.. On My DVR, I just skip past it anyway, nice for Dish to have the feature built in now only if Verizon would do the same.

Re:Well watch what happens next. (1)

Artea (2527062) | about a year ago | (#44377393)

Subscription television has always confused me. I thought the idea was that if you subscribed to a service, you could avoid advertisements that subsidized the free services. Yet for TV you pay for the privilege of watching a network's advertisements. I gave up watching TV over a decade ago, so my eyeballs aren't monetizing anything.

Is there a financial reason behind this, or do they just want to double-dip for more cash?

Re: Well watch what happens next. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377451)

Greed is the only reason. Greedy rich people (advertisers) paying other greedy rich people (networks) to brainwash the poor out of more money.

Re:Well watch what happens next. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377489)

I subscribe to eztv.it

The "-ate" plan (1)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | about a year ago | (#44377491)

If you cannot innovate litigate. If you can't litigate legislate. Seems like this is the business model of business involved in the entertainment industry.

Re:The "-ate" plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378049)

innovate, litigate, legislate

Have you noticed that every action where something comes out of a body has a word ending with -ate? Lactate, regurgitate, urinate, defecate...must be related.

A business model is NOT the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377541)

Do ads pay for some broadcast TV? Almost certainly yes. If it was provably the case that most people watching these channels bypassed the ads in some complete way, would ad revenue drop precipitously? Almost certainly yes. Should the Law therefore ensure that viewers of broadcast TV are forced to be exposed to the ads? Absolutely not!

Broadcast TV with ads is a business model. It is a voluntary social contract between the broadcaster and viewers that carries no weight in Law. Of course, viewers should be made aware that if too few of them are provably watching the ads, the viability of such a business model will end. A business has a right to make such an appeal to its (potential) customers.

When, however, the business owners go to court to defend that which they have no right to legally defend, they become criminals of the worst kind. Rupert Murdoch is not simply 'trying it on'. Murdoch is attempting to use legal precedent, bought via political influence, to reduce the rights of ordinary citizens in the USA. Of course, Murdoch has always been a criminal of the very worst kind.

In Europe, Murdoch faced competition to his direct broadcast satellite services. No problem- he had an Israeli division of one of his companies hack the smart cards of his main competitors. Then the encryption data was handed to Israeli crime gangs, who flooded the market with low cost counterfeit smart cards.

A little later, Murdoch activated legal action against tens of thousands of his former customers in the USA. Their 'crime' was having their names on a database for a company that sold smart card equipment. Not, mind you, illegal smart cards or illegal software. Just industry standard interface gear. Murdoch claimed, with ZERO evidence, that his ex-customers used the LEGAL smart card equipment to create illegal access systems in their own home.

Later again, Murdoch was found to have run the biggest illegal phone tapping operation in the history of the UK. However, since Murdoch is one of Tony Blair's inner circle, and is an official propagandist of the UK state alongside the BBC, he hardly had anything to worry about.

Murdoch thinks the law is for sale. Each year, his corporate Xmas cards show Fox and the competing news organisations as drawn 'foxes' manipulating drawn 'sheep' (that is to say YOU the sheeple) in some way. One card showed foxes playing chess with sheep as the pieces. Another showed foxes racing in sleds pulled by teams of sheep.

The filthy shills here tell you to hate the term SHEEPLE. Rupert Murdoch, your lord and propaganda master, sends Xmas cards to Blair and Obama where you are actually depicted as sheep. Isn't time to get a clue, people?

lmao (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44377587)

i dont understand what fox thought they were going to succeed in doing... there is now law for them to have grounds for a lawsuit. you cant sue someone because they are reducing your profit by not allowing you to abuse the system.

How do they detect commercials now anyways? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44377691)

I mean, I know that they traditionally used audio levels to detect when the commercial breaks start and end, but now there are quite a few networks which do not practice this (which is nice for people that don't want to have to manually turn down the tv volume whenever commercials start when they are watching live programming and turn the volume back up when the show starts again).

Faux. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377745)

You old as fuck dump them tards.

Re:Faux. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377863)

Learn some proper fucking grammar.

That's OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44377901)

Everything on TV is one big product placement with overlaid ads now anyway. You might as well "hop" on one foot. It's good exercise to make up for all the time you spend in front of TV.

mandatory watching (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44378015)

Next thing Fox is going to mandate all cable/sat companies to only sell "always on" devices that can only stream Fox and lock owners in their homes. If the cable company subscribers don't watch fox 24/7 at a blasting loud volume, they want extra money from the companies because they are losing money. Come on, you can't expect people to actually watch your show or not go to the toilet, kitchen or whatever during commercial breaks either. Just because there's "fast forward" on a VCR doesn't mean it should be outlawed because you can skip commercials. Commercials have gotten (technically) ignored since they were on TV. You can't make people watch them any more in current times than you could in the past.

Advertisers pay to have advert broadcasted only (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#44378193)

Advertisers do not pay to have their adverts replayed in perpetuity.

Re:Advertisers pay to have advert broadcasted only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378457)

I think advertisers pay to have their advertisement seen. It's why they spend more money for a billboard downtown than they do a billboard in a swamp. And it's also why, if you are a network, you fight to have the advertisements forced down as many people's throats as possible.

I think it would be neat if advertisers started making ads that made sense at normal and 2x speed.

Way back when (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44378195)

our town was voting to let cable TV to be deployed here, we were promised that there would be no commercials on any cable channel. That was one of the main reason it got approved for deployment, no commercials because we had to pay to get cable TV. That promise was quickly broken! I have read other comments that the same promise was made in many other towns as well.

Now I don't have cable or satellite TV. Why? Way too many annoying commercials, and crap across the bottom of the screen that ruins the content I am watching. I now have Netflix, and occasionally buy DVDs (I will never buy Blu-ray crap!) I very much like NOT having commercials. And back when DVRs first came out, some were able to automagically skip commercials while recording. Then Hollyweed and the MPAA stuck their noses where they didn't belong and convinced DVR manufacturers to discontinue that feature, though most people like the idea and wanted that feature.

I think the FCC needs to step in and we should go back to what we had in the late 60s/early 70s...very limited (3-6 minutes per hour) commercials. Cable and sattelite should not be allowed to display station id or commercials/announcements on any part of the screen (except dangerous weather alerts) during a movie or TV show. In fact cable/satellite TV customers are already being price gouged extremely, so there should be strict price caps, alacarte programming, and NO commercials allowed!

A similar case in Germany (2)

Knossos (814024) | about a year ago | (#44378613)

[Full disclosure: I work on a product like this]

This kind of system is also in operation in Germany. There was a major lawsuit between RTL (huge German broadcaster) and TC Unterhaltungselektronic AG, that very much reflects this lawsuit. Here is a link to the German court ruling as reported by Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/fernseh-fee-bgh-erlaubt-verkauf-von-werbeblockern-a-305779.html [spiegel.de]

I realise this is a bit of a shameless plug, but it is relevant to the interests of this thread:
http://fernsehfee.de/ [fernsehfee.de]

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