back to article Dish Networks locks horns with broadcasters over ad skipping

In the latest episode of the US ad-skipping saga, Dish Networks is facing the wrath of broadcasters such as NBC and Fox, but winning praise from customers and no doubt causing a little churn among competitors. That at least is the intention of the Dish PVR ad skipping feature called Auto Hop, with the company gambling that the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I would like DIsh to win this and set a precedent so that all of us can enjoy the programme we "WANT" without the intrusive (and often loud- in your face) pathetic, time wasting and diabolical adverts.

    Keep their copyrights up their arses. There is no infringements on that. Stick it up, DIsh networks.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Nice

      Odd argument that they are altering the content so it is a copyright issue. As far as I can see the original content is not modified, all they do is allow you to see the bits you want and not the other bits.

      Legislating against that would be bizarre as it would imply it is illegal to take a leak during the advert break!

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Nice

        I think the point is who does the ad-skipping. Under the usual arrangement, someone providing the cable connection to your house cannot be sued for what you pull down the cable. If these people are changing the content before it reaches you, they suddenly find themselves in the position of "broadcaster" and liable for everything.

        This "I'm just a carrier" exemption is the same one that protects usenet servers and ISPs from legal liability for the rantings of random idiots who use the service. I think it is a good thing and I wish we had it here (*), so I would be saddened if the behaviour of Dish Networks caused a furore that eventually led to a change in the law.

        (* At least, this is my UK-based non-lawyer understanding of the situation in the US. I dare say someone will jump in and correct me if I'm wrong. AFAIK, the UK has no concept of protected status for carriers and we've had some rather daft lawsuits as a result.)

        1. Turtle

          Re: Nice

          Would Dish agree to compensate the content producers for revenue lost by removing the adverts?

          Also, I wonder if it would not possible to resort to some sort of EULA to first make the advert-skipping a contravention of license, and then sue for violation of the license if the adverts were removed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice

        They are not complaining about you seeing their content. They are complaining about you not seeing somebody else's content. Can there really be a law that insists on that?

      3. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Nice

        I don't think it's really a copyright issue. Otherwise, a lot of cable providers would already be in trouble. Cable operators quite routinely overwrite the commercials coming from the original feed. One cable company I had even managed to eat into the actual shows. It was terribly annoying.

        I don't see this as any different than what cable operators have already been doing.

        Since Dish is forced to pay for these channels, they should be able to do what they like with the commercials. I don't think broadcasters should be able to have it both ways. If the commercials are valuable enough that they can be protected by law, then they should not have any right to demand payment for retransmission.

    2. Fatman

      Re: Nice

      Agreed, they should have copyright shoved so far up their asses, it just might come out of their noses.

      If all Dish did was to send specific "cues" in the data stream that identifies specific points; like "begin commercial block", "end commercial block", and nothing else. Thereby leaving the "blocking" decision to the end viewer, then fuck the networks. That would be no different from what can happen right now (manual editing). Simple viewer instruction, change this setting to block adverts.

      They may have a problem if the advert bits get dropped before they hit Dish's network, but IANAL.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice

        I think a legal issue could be that Dish supplies the receiver, so they can't really say that it's the customer doing it when it depends on analysis done by the receiver.

        I expect a win for the broadcasters.

    3. James 139

      Re: Nice

      Whilst I'd like to think that Dish, and others in the future, would be vindicated, you should also see where such technology will ultimately lead.

      Once the money from adverts is reduced, there will be a move towards in program advertising instead, much like the US has a lot of those "coming next" annoying banners, so it will only be a matter of time until you get ones that say "Buy this crap!" instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice

        In-programme banners won't really help in the long run. People skip the ads because they've become intolerably irritating; if the banner thing gets too intrusive (and I suspect "intrusive" has a very low threshold in this case) people will just turn over. An awful lot of programming is not watched because its actually any good, but simply because people want to veg out, so '"bbc hospital" probably ticks many of the same boxes as "itv hospital" but without a scratchy little irritant crawling across the screen every 30 seconds.

        Product placement might well be the other big stick that's threatened, but it's similarly handicapped by the WTF factor. 25% of a dramas dialogue spent fawning over the culinary superiority of a tin of beans will make the programme itself unwatchable, doubly so if they've sponsored half of ITV's output. If they don't make it sufficiently obvious (and therefore cumulatively irritating) no one will notice. I might be unusual, but I personally couldn't give a rats arse what brand of coffee or laptop a sitcom character uses, so to make me notice the "product" would have to yell very loudly.

        1. James 139

          Re: Nice

          In the UK its true, in-programme banners wont help as much, but where you have pretty much 100% ad supported channels, you wouldnt be able to escape them.

          It is further complicated by channels just being carried, rather than owned, by whoever is showing them, as the owner sells the ad space, not the carrier.

          Tbh, Id almost prefer in-programme banners, at least that way what im watching doesnt get interupted every 10mins.

        2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: Nice

          What's the big deal, advertisers complaing that they can't force people to watch ads in the same week that General Motors removes all Facebook advertising "because no-one clicks on ads on the social network" i.e. nobody pays any attention to the ads.

          Seems to me that all dish are doing is saving companies like GM money.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Nice


  2. James Cooke

    How far does the storage requirement go?

    You have a "copy" for everyone that selects it to be recorded but what happens if that's stored on a storage solution that does de-duplication. It's the same result but is it different legally to having a catalogue?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: How far does the storage requirement go?

      The 'legality' is probably something that engineers can't begin to understand the dumbness of, but I guess they can't argue against a de-dupe system as all of the copies are logically separate in the sense you can modify one without altering anyone else's "copy".

      So today a mid-high end storage system could de-dupe this effectively and save a *lot* of space at the usual expense of having to have enough RAM for the de-dupe hash tables, which is hardly an issue now.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: How far does the storage requirement go?

        The impression given in the article was that the "separate copy" rule was a compromise hammered out to avoid further legal wrangling. The deal went something like "You agree to pay a load more money on pointless copies or else we take you back to court, for something or other.". If that's correct, then de-duping the storage would be a violation of the very essence of the agreement.

        1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

          Re: How far does the storage requirement go?

          I see your point, but an equally valid point could be is that you are using industry standard storage gear which happens to do stuff (dedupe) so it can put more stuff on it but to you it's a black box as you can change somebody's copy and other peoples' will stay the same.

          Still, it seems like a lawyer's paradise...

          1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

            Re: How far does the storage requirement go?

            Why de-dupe the data, compress it.

            For example a compression method such as fractal compression, while expensive to perform the compression, is very quick to decompress. I know fractal compression is lossy, but then so is MPEG-2.

            I'd imagine the space saving with 100 episodes of the latest episode of <insert name of program> in the same archive would be quite considerable.

            1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

              Re: How far does the storage requirement go?

              Shit!!!!!, I should have patented that before I posted that.....

  3. I Am Spartacus

    Will it work in the UK

    See the title.

  4. Andy 97

    Subscription TV

    I used to pay the "evil Murdoch empire" a subscription to watch TV and then had to sit through yards of adverts. The economic reality is that someone has to pay for the programmes and I do feel some sympathy for the networks*, but following several trips to the states I can see why people need an add-skip.

    U.S commercial TV is a powerful ecosystem and you'd expect Dish will get a good kicking in the courts.

    Lawyers are (even now) ordering new yachts bought from the proceeds of this.

    *except for the Fox network.

    1. h3

      Re: Subscription TV

      It is a powerful ecosystem but there should be the option to pay just for what you want adfree and with a decent cost. (Relative to the cost of the programming).

      If I was in the US I would probably only want HBO. (Wouldn't pay for all the rest of the stuff I don't want).

      Great content doesn't even have to be expensive to make see something like.

      Jerome Bixby’s - The Man From Earth (It consists entirely of about 10 people in a house just talking.)

      The way things are set up by all the cable / satellite companies (This one being the only good exception).

      Everywhere seems to be fairly corrupt these days. (And stuff like anti trust doesn't seem to be applied in a fair manner.)

  5. Steve Crook

    Commercial stations...

    Any commercial TV broadcasts that I want to watch are recorded specifically so I can speed through the adverts. In fact, I've got so used to being able to do it that it's painful to return to watching live commercial TV. Of course by putting the sponsor bookends around the adverts the companies are actually facilitating skipping through the ads because they're easy to spot even when winding through at high speed.

    So having a skip button would be nice, but it won't mean I'll stop seeing adverts. Personally, I'd prefer to be able to record the programs without adverts in the first place. Even if it meant a small annual subscription.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Commercial stations...

      Doesn't *everybody* do this now? And if so, why is *anyone* paying to advertise on commercial channels these days?

      Or perhaps the advertisers think they have found a self-selecting audience of stupid people who might therefore be susceptible to ads. Yes, I think I see how that might work. A bit unethical, though.

      1. Len Goddard

        Re: Commercial stations...

        I remember some arrogant cretin of a network executive coming up with the unbelievable statement that skipping the ads was equivalent to stealing the programming.

        My PVR doesn't do a fixed-period skip so I run through them on fast-forward (30x). Oddly, research shows that the impact and retention of advertising material at this speed is much the same as if you watch them at normal speed. TBH, advertisers are better off if I don't watch their rubbish because on the odd occasion that I notice an ad it is usually because it has annoyed me so much I will never use that product again. I haven't eaten Shredded Wheat breakfast cerial for about 40 years because one of their jingles got up my nose so much.

      2. DiViDeD

        Re: Commercial stations...

        I've been timeshifting programs for the specific purpose of skipping ads exer since IQ (that's Sky+ for the Brits) turned up in Oz. Before that I'd simply record stuff on the HDD recorder and start watching 20 minutes in.

        Here in Oz we already get the half screen in programme banners advertising programmes you wouldn't watch with a gun to your head, but they're pretty much limited to two broadcast channels at the moment. TBH, they're more irritating than the constant commercial breaks (Channel 9 can get an hour of commercials plus two sports updates into a 90 minute film), precisely because they're so intrusive.

        Timeshifting is here to stay, and the industry needs to look for some way to raise revenue other than spamverts, maybe a subscription model.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fat moustachioed opera singers

      I never watch live TV if I can avoid it, not even the news. I leave my receiver on the news channel overnight and then rewind and fast forward in the morning.

      But every now and again I'll be out of the room when the advert breaks come on and that fat moustachioed bastard starts belting out his ditty. I would happily pay for any equipment/subscription that ensured I never had to watch or listen to that advert again. Those opposing Dish Networks should be forced to watch and listen to a continuous stream of the advert.

  6. nigel 15
    Thumb Up

    Great Article

    It's been a long time since i read such a well informed, written and balanced article on the reg.

    re but legally operators have to maintain a separate physical copy for each user - i would have thought that these days a bit of dedupe at file system level would be sufficient?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great Article

      There seems to be a failure of understanding somewhere. Does it matter if I keep 1 copy then photocopy on demand VS keep a billion copies that "might" be needed? One is manageable, the other crazy.

      Guess which one the law prefers...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not ads that are the problem

    It's the sheer volume of them. Haven't had to sit through US tv it's appaling. A 35 min program should not take an hour to watch. Typical american viewing:

    Hello and welcome to.....

    We have a great show lined up for you and we'll be right back after this break

    Welcome back my guests tonight are....

    And we'll be speaking to them right after this break

    It's just too much and we are heading the same way in the UK if the broadcasters get their way.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: It's not ads that are the problem

      They keep saying that ad revenue is dropping, so they need more ads.

      When you get to the point that people will spend money to avoid the ads, more ads is not the answer.

      It's not even just the normal 30 second ads, where we used to get movies, old show reruns, kids cartoons now we get 30 minute ads for wonder blenders, fat fighting magic, and bowling ball sucking vacuum cleaners (that is a bunch of worthless crap).

      1. Charles 9

        Re: It's not ads that are the problem

        That ain't the end of it. Some networks now shoehorn ads INLINE with the show so you can't avoid it without skipping part of the show. And mind you, this is on CABLE networks, too, where you'd think they'd get enough from the distribution chains.

    2. Len Goddard

      Re: It's not ads that are the problem

      It is much the same in the UK. It used to be that if you clipped the ads out of a 2 hour program you were left with 100-105 minutes of programming. Nowadays you are lucky to get much over 90 (and that includes 90 the credits which probably have voice-over ads for upcoming programs). The old 2-breaks for 1 hour and 3 for 2 scheme has become 3 and 4 respectively, with the extra break stuck in near the end for maximum exposure. This is particularly a problem with older programs where they shoehorn the extra break in with no regard to content.

      "And the murderer was"

      <5 mins advertising>

      "Colonel Mustard in the TV room with the fatally boring advert".

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: It's not ads that are the problem

        "It is much the same in the UK"

        Not quite. Until recently, there was a fixed limit on the number and duration od commercial ad breaks. Different thresholds for terrestrial and sat channels.

        Recently, the rules changed. Now, the total number of minutes allowed for commercial ads is the same as it's been for some years now, but, and it's a BIG BUT, the number of ad minutes is averaged out over 24 hours.

        The result of this is more and longer ad breaks at peak times, shorter and less ad breaks at off peak times.

        This is most noticable, IME, on the sat channels where the over night/early morning programmes will have very short "ad" breaks which play a couple of "coming soon" trailers and no commercials at all.

        This has resulted in me sometimes spending a little more time looking for repeats of programmes and recording to 2am showing instead and watching even less than the minimal amount of "live" TV I was still sometimes watching.

        Now, if the ad-hop thing does get blasted out of existence, maybe it could be resurected such that it detects the start of the ad beak and turns the volume down a couple of notches to make the ad sound track the same level as the programme sound track (mute would be preferable, but if they lose the ad-hop fight I suspect they'd also lose an Ad Mute fight too.)

        On the other hand, I think it will all come down to the definition of a "programme". Are the ads part of the main programme or are they seperate "mini" programmes ion their own right? I would suggest that since TV ads have their own annual awards ceremonies then they are effectively seperate "programmes" from the one they happen to interupt during broadcast.

        1. Al Jones

          Re: It's not ads that are the problem

          The US Congress has already passed a law requiring broadcasters to stop turning the volume up during ad breaks!

          The CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act was passed in December 2010, but broadcasters are still legally allowed to pump up the volume during the ads - we'll see if the law actually works in December 2012!

      2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: It's not ads that are the problem

        Anyone remember the F1 grand prix a few yrs ago, with the 2 championship leaders dicing wheel to wheel with 5 laps to go<CUT> ad break <Back to race> and thats a stunning win for Alonso

        I suppose its a fine line to be walked, between getting the viewers to watch, and pissing them off so much with ad breaks , they all switch over

  8. Dave Rickmers
    Thumb Up

    Logical Conclusion

    I can do the Dish box one better by simply skipping through the "content" as well. Commercial TV is not worth the trouble, even with the paid spots removed.

    1. Wize

      Re: Logical Conclusion

      No commercial TV? Is it BBC all the way for you?

  9. Gordo Rex

    So Called?

    "... so called 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ..."

    What brought on this particular surge of venom?

    I thought the 2nd Circuit was a well respected institution. Perhaps Faultline, a so called consulting firm, should have the work of their so called writers vetted by a so called editor before its published.

    1. Old Handle

      Perhaps because it's not really circuit?

      Some circuit courts are actually spread over many locations which judges have to travel between, but the 2nd Circuit is only a single courthouse.

      But I'm guessing it was really just because the term circuit court might be unfamiliar to some readers outside the US.

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    To show how bad it is in the US, when BBC-America shows Top Gear in its entirety, it's an hour and 20 minutes long. 33% of the show is commercials. And they wonder why I canceled my cable service.

  11. Jumble

    "33% of the show is commercials."

    Erm, 25% actually - unless US hours are only 40 minutes long :)

    1. VinceH

      Well, according to the first sentence of this article, which says "Apple’s iCloud service crashed for ninety minutes on Monday, US time" it seems that Overpuddlian time may indeed differ from hours - though how by much isn't made clear.

      Perhaps you've worked it out. :)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Yeah, they base their hour on the Greek working hour rather than the English working hour. Similar to the wine/ale gallon thing :-)

      Mnes the one with the metric rular in the pocket. 10 inches long.

  12. geejayoh

    Someone has to pay...

    This is usually the argument against free-tards and other people rubbishing the networks. Yes. Someone has to pay.

    I agree totally. Either adverts. Or subscription. Or a blend of both.

    What these networker execs and apologists don't realise is that maybe people are fed-up.

    - Fed-up because the adverts are so noxious.

    - Fed-up because since 1994 since we first had Sky in my home, he's seen the sub fee go up from £24 / month to a whopping £79 (that's all channels). That's a 229% increase in just under 20 years. Yes, it's gone digital, and we have Sky + boxes now, and HD tv streams. But as technology matures aren't prices meant to become commoditised / go down? Is there anyone out there that can actually justify >200% increase in price?

    - Fed-up because the adverts have become longer, louder and more frequent.

    - Fed-up, because to support adverts, networks will actually cut parts of films to stick to their advert schedule

    - Fed-up because Pay-TV has pushed up the price for important events and shows for national broadcasters, therefore pushing up the sub cost.

    - Fed-up because most people would actually be reasonable if the broadcasters weren't so fugging greedy. How about just one advert break in a 30 minute show?

    - Fed-up, because much like the practice of raising the volume for singles on the radio so they sounded louder than the last, fed-up up that your fugging adverts come on louder than the program I was just watching.

    - Fed-up that you invade the base reason I watch TV dramas - to escape reality, with fugging product advertising.

    I have absolutely no sympathy. Why do they think ad-blockers are so popular on browsers. Because they're invasive, obnoxious and way too frequent. If they rescinded their greed and offered quality programming all the time, people might tolerate their shit advertising a wee bit more.

    Death to sales & marketing goons.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Re: Someone has to pay...

      Couldn't agree more. Why they stoke the volume up by 4x defeats me. If I can't find the remote sharpish late at night, I'm in danger of a swift nack in the kickers from the big bloke next door, who has to leave for work at 03:00. OK, it's kinda useful - ish, in the sense that Girlie and I go for a smoke on the balcony, sound turned down so we can (just) hear some unidentifiable noise from the ads. When we can't anymore, go back inside and the film's just responded.

      (They'll be saying the TV remote "Mute" button infringes copyright next).

      What they haven't seemed to grasp is the adverts, after time, just get mentally ignored, and have minimal effect.

      Not to knock Americans at all here, but it's just soooo FUC*KING-IN-YOUR-FACE! It's like the drill sergeant standing an inch away, and yelling at you at the top of his voice. Muppet. After all, what nation came up with unanted pop-ups? Take Windows-xp as an example. Every time I boot, dozens of little balloons appear telling me (I kid you not, on my machine anyway) "New hardware detected: Disk drive" "New hardware detected: CD ROM" etc.

      Who was that cretin a few years back who stated on a tv show to the effect that "Not watching ads. is theft!"?

      1. kjrunner

        Re: Someone has to pay...

        I think McCoatover hit the biggest issue for me, the volume of the adverts compared to the program is just ridiculous (although the show intros are ridiculous as well, but that's another rant). What I don't get is that if I'm only 1/2 paying attention to the show, by say reading el reg, when the commercial comes on it triggers me to skip if recorded or hit the mute button if live.

        1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

          Ad volume

          Apparently the Dutch TV stations self-regulated for once or something or perhaps it was our dear government saying "we can do this the soft way or...", but over here ad volume has been reduced till it's more or less normal.

          What a relief.

          Only now, every ad comes with some annoying little song/melody which is almost as irritating...

          1. Tom 35

            Re: Ad volume

            In Canada they require that the volume be the same, so they run the ads through dynamic range compression so they read the same on a VU meter, but sound louder to your ear.

            They always find a way to be irritating.

        2. The Envoy

          Re: Someone has to pay... Sound and vision

          Aaah, the commercials too loud complaint. Very often up for debate here in Sweden as well. And the answer is always something like this:

          "But, hey, it's not louder. We just compress the sound to make it stand out and get noticed".

          And so it continues...

          Someone has to pay, even for the so called "free" stuff. And that someone is - as always - you and me, the viewer.

      2. Charles 9

        Re: Someone has to pay...

        "Not to knock Americans at all here, but it's just soooo FUC*KING-IN-YOUR-FACE! It's like the drill sergeant standing an inch away, and yelling at you at the top of his voice. Muppet. After all, what nation came up with unanted pop-ups? Take Windows-xp as an example. Every time I boot, dozens of little balloons appear telling me (I kid you not, on my machine anyway) "New hardware detected: Disk drive" "New hardware detected: CD ROM" etc."

        Why? Because these kinds of adverts were BORN in America. As a result, Americans have been exposed to so much of it that they become innured, meaning advertisers need flashier and flashier ways to get your attention. And it's been this way for a LONG time. I recall a chapter in a science fiction novel in which a billboard gets someone's attention by a major light show. The novel was E. E. Smith's "First Lensman," a book Older Than Television, yet it shows the kind of thinking advertisers faced then AND now: how do you draw the attention of people who otherwise wouldn't want anything to do with you (or to paraphrase from a certain TV infomercial, how do you make the fish bite when it isn't hungry)?

    2. wiggers

      Re: Someone has to pay...

      Spot on! If you're watching Free To Air then it has to be paid for somehow, licence fee and advertising are the current solutions. If you're paying for content then it shouldn't be interrupted every couple of minutes by idiots telling you what to spend your money on. I've already chosen to spend my money on the content so go away and let me enjoy it!

      Same goes for the annoying shouty people who tell you what you should watch next as soon as the credits start to roll. I can make my own mind up, thank you, I do know how to use the EPG! And I'd rather savour the content and see who made it, rather than have it squeezed to a microdot while you force-feed me the tat no-one really wants to watch.

      1. Kubla Cant

        Re: Someone has to pay...

        Another strong contender in the annoying stakes is the BBC3 habit of interrupting long-running content (usually feature films) to give you five minutes of fatuous Sleb-n-Sport news in the middle.

        Does some imbecile at the BBC imagine that viewers actually like commercial breaks? Or is it because BBC3 viewers are too weak in the brain or bladder to last through a 90-minute film?

  13. Len Goddard

    Buy the DVD

    I'm reaching the stage where I am ready to cancel my TV subscription and just buy the DVDs of the shows worth watching (of which there are not many). At least that way you don't get interested in a show just to have the morons at fox cancel it after the first season.

    1. Caesarius

      Re: Buy the DVD

      I had thought buying the DVD would be a reliable way to avoid adverts, but I find all the trailers, animated logos, and exhortations to buy rather than steal, take so long that I put the DVD on with the sound down and go off to make a cup of tea. I have a sickening prescience of such extras developing the need for me to nudge them out of an endless loop (1), or adverts being reinserted in the main content.

      Is it my fault because I buy cheap DVDs? Tell me there are up-market DVDs that have less intrusion. I somehow doubt it.

      Ad skipping could translate to copying the DVD's main content. Naturally I resent the cost of a DVD-R and the time taken. No doubt that is already illegal (in the UK, but not with USA's fair use policy?), and I now predict measures taken by the DVD manufacturers to make this awkward.

      (1) Sorry: perhaps I should not have put that idea in writing

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Buy the DVD

        The un-skipable anti-piracy adverts are best. The irony being that not only have you paid for a copy and have to be lectured to anyway, but the dodgy copies that can easily be picked up at any local market have had all that guff cleanly removed so they boot straight to the menu.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Buy the DVD

          "The un-skipable anti-piracy adverts are best."

          And try explaining them to the three year old who just wants to watch their favourite film.

        2. Stu_The_Jock

          Re: Buy the DVD

          That's why I rip the main feature to DivX, heave it on my ext HDD hanging off the DVD player and suddenly no ads. Bit more work ripping to make sure I have both English and Norwegian versions done though. Also protects the DVDs from small sticky fingers.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Buy the DVD

            I've just started ripping my massive DVD & Blu-Ray collection to my NAS Drive..

            So much better than actually watching from the disk, no Disk to scratch, no waiting, and no drive noise!!!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TiVo Ad skip

    TiVo got around that issue by including a 30 second skip that had to be enabled by a well known "hack" (Select - Play - Select - 3 - 0 - Select).

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

      Re: TiVo Ad skip

      And Mythtv has it built-in :)

    2. wiggers

      Re: TiVo Ad skip

      HUMAX boxes have a 2 minute skip button. A couple of presses of that and you're done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: TiVo Ad skip

        My Sony box has skips that start with 30 sec forward or 5 sec back; perfect for ad avoidance. It also has an "insert chapter marker at scene change" that actually only inserts the markers to bracket the ad breaks, at least on channels that aren't too compressed such as Film 4. The only ads that ever get seen if its misfired occasionally are the "sponsor" ads that bookend the ad break, which must be about the last desirable piece of property in TV ad land.

        Sony did produce a VCR that automatically ignored ads in the late 80s (I think), and only for the japanese market. It worked on the signal that preceded the start and end of the break. After the predictable uproar, IIRC the channels just changed the signal to something it didn't recognize.

        1. Refugee from Windows

          Re: TiVo Ad skip

          It was Grundig, it used the hidden teletext pages that were used to signal the start of a commercial break. Funnily enough the IBA didn't like this idea. It's all going with this digital stuff - or you could look for the marker in the corner of the screen going off with a 5 second time to hit the pause on record.

          I seem to recall in a sci-fi film "blipverts" that were so fast you subliminally saw them before you could hit the remote. Maybe they'll go this way soon.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: TiVo Ad skip

            That was 'Max Headroom', and you're old....or it wasn't and I'm senile.

  15. Doug Glass

    Just damn, ....

    ... here I was thinking channel surfing during commercials or taking a leak or getting another Leinenkugel was sufficient. Now I find I need some sort of nanny service to enable me to not watch what I don't want to watch. Just screw 'em all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Channel surfing

      during advert breaks is useless. The different channels try to broadcast adverts at the same time so all you get to see when surfing are other adverts.

  16. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    Any minute now....

    someone is going to whine on about the licence fee for BBC....

    I read all this and say "Thank god for ....."

    We have no cable in this (insert small town on outskirts of south Manchester, UK) so no TiVo to skip ads. Refused for 10+ years to support Murdoch in any way so Sky Box is out. My ad skipping is MythTV all the way - it works - and boy, am I glad to free from the shouting idiocy that are adverts...

    1. MrXavia
      Thumb Up

      Re: Any minute now....

      I agree with you, I'm happy to pay my TV license, it gives me plenty of content I enjoy, and I include Radio in that as well.

      I won't pay for SKY, because it has adverts.. If it was Ad Free, i'd be happy to pay, but I won't pay for ads..

      There is plenty on Free Sat that I can enjoy, and the adverts are not THAT bad if your not watching ITV....

  17. Mage Silver badge


    They paid for people to watch them once live. They want people to watch the recordings and not pay a 2nd time?

    The Storage requirements for Network PVR are daft. Esp if someone buys Dedup storage!

  18. tfewster

    The (low) price of ad-free TV

    Television advertising revenue in the UK = £4.36bn in 2011 / 25 million homes in the UK

    So to replace that advertising revenue, you would need another £174* on the licence fee, to be distributed across all the channels. That's just £14.50 a month on top of your "service provider" fees - BBC licence + Sky subs

    *Call it £200, as the ad + trailer time MUST be replaced with actual programs!

    It would be more expensive in the US:

    US advertising revenues in 2011 = $171.7 billion / 160 million homes = $1000 p.a.

    More reading:

    BBC: £145.50 for colour * 25 million homes in the UK = £3.6 billion in 2010 => 2.4bn on TV (66% of BBC revenue on ad-free TV). A bit expensive for just 2 ad-free channels?!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: The (low) price of ad-free TV

      >>> BBC: £145.50 for colour * 25 million homes in the UK = £3.6 billion in 2010 => 2.4bn on TV (66% of BBC revenue on ad-free TV). A bit expensive for just 2 ad-free channels?!

      Well, four. And six national radio channels, and a heap of local radio stations, and t'internet site, and the iPlayer...

      And to be honest, no, not expensive at all. Problem is you get to pay the advertising costs whether you watch commercial TV or not, or indeed even if you don't have a TV, since it can be assumed to apply to pretty much any product you buy... the deal with the BBC is that you pay, and you get content. The deal with commercial channels is that the programme is intended to entice me to watch the adverts... but there's no contract with me, even implicitly.

      I've said it before (and got downvoted for it) but I'll say it again: advertising is an attempt to steal my time. If I want something, I'll search; if I don't, why would an advert persuade me? Advertising is an increasingly nonsensical way of funding 'entertainment'.

      1. Charles 9

        Re: The (low) price of ad-free TV

        "I've said it before (and got downvoted for it) but I'll say it again: advertising is an attempt to steal my time. If I want something, I'll search; if I don't, why would an advert persuade me? Advertising is an increasingly nonsensical way of funding 'entertainment'."

        There's no such thing as a free ride. You either pay out of your pocket or pay with your time. it'd be interesting to see the time-to-money ratio for current network television.

        1. Skrrp
          Thumb Up

          Re: The (low) price of ad-free TV

          Advertising in general is a waste of time. As you said, if I want a product I'll search around and word of mouth is more important to me than advertising.

          I used to work for a now defunct crap computer maker (named after something that a clock helps you with) and we were once told their stats on adverts. It was £50 per customer footfall and another £150 per computer sale. That's a large chunk of the margin so it was no wonder we were pushed to sell the extended warranties. I guess they were making a loss on a base computer sale. Coupled with that, the computers sold were shite. Factory refurbed and refitted HDDs in new units. They were sold on the basis of advertising alone, while I knew full well where you could buy from a local supplier for the same money and actually get some decent kit.

          Now to companies who famously don't advertise; Bentley and Rolls Royce. You heard of them?

          If a product is good enough on terms of quality and price you'll have customers beating a path to your door. If your product is sub-standard, you need to advertise.

        2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: The (low) price of ad-free TV

          I agree entirely. See my previous comments on ad-free internet browsing...

          But I don't know of *any* TV channel which is run entirely by subscription; that is, with no money from anywhere else in the organisation, no friendly plugs in the same company's newspapers, no support from other channels in the same bundle, no shared infrastructure/staffing costs. Doesn't mean there isn't one, but in thirty years of working in the industry I never came across one.

          I'm a huge fan of the BBC (I worked there over thirty years) but I'll be the first to admit it's expensive - but also that a lot the cost is internal administration which is a relic of John Birt's attempts to kill it. But I really don't think that there is any way you could fund the BBC (or a similar ad-free system) on a per-program subscription model; you need to buy the whole package. If the BBC ever went that way you could say goodbye to BBC3, 4, and probably BBC2, Radio 3, local radio... it needs the many to support the few. Whether that's a good idea or not is of course political, irrespective of my views on it!

      2. tfewster

        @Neil Barnes Re: The (low) price of ad-free TV

        Actually, the £2.4Bn _is_ for TV; The other £1.2Bn covers the other media. So you get 4 ad-free channels + content for about £100 p.a. The point of my post was that for an extra £200 p.a. (we) could replace advertising revenue with subscription revenue and have dozens of ad-free channels showing quality original content from around the world. Which _does_ make the BBC look expensive.

        As to the cost of advertising being included in the product - Unfortunately ad-free TV wouldn't eliminate advertising agencies, but it might make them pay more to create an interesting ad* ** and pay more for the limited TV slots that wanted to use the ad-revenue model - Keeping up the revenue and enabling creation of more quality content.

        *If I recall correctly, it used to cost about £1m to create an ad and £0.25m per showing in peak time; So skimping on the creation was a false saving.

        ** How about the ASA being the judge of "good" ads? If viewers complain that an ad is boring, they could prevent it being shown again :-)

        Absolutely agreed on the purpose of advertising; It's fine if you don't have access to a search engine when you think "I want a widget that does X and Y"; It's OK if you live in a cave and never thought of X and Y as being useful. But as the best advertising is word of mouth (enhanced by t'internet), the old Awareness/Interest/Desire/Action model is only effective on a limited % of the viewers

        1. Kubla Cant

          Re: @Neil Barnes The (low) price of ad-free TV

          @tfewster: "(we) could replace advertising revenue with subscription revenue and have dozens of ad-free channels showing quality original content from around the world. Which _does_ make the BBC look expensive."

          The key phrase is "quality original content". There's plenty of junk on BBC, but I still think it's reasonable value. As far as I'm concerned, the quality of most of the content on the commercial channels is pretty much worth what I pay for it - nothing. Put it another way, there are rarely any programmes that are good enough to justify having to see the ads. The sole exception, oddly enough, is Dave, the channel of last resort. But a lot of Dave's content originated on the BBC anyway.

          Another post equates the ads to "paying with your time" for content. I'm paid by the day, so I know exactly what my time is worth, and an evening of ITV programmes doesn't come near.

  19. Benjamin 4

    I don't get it. This functionality is available with an add-on in Windows Media Centre, MythTV and other hardware based DVRs. I don't see how content providers can complain that they are automatically fast forwarding through certain sections.

    They are not changing the program, since all of the program is still there and still recorded. They are merely automatically skipping bits of it. You can still watch them if you want to, its just a feature to avoid bits of it.

    1. Charles 9

      Because in ad-supported TV, the Ads are the most important part. Put it this way: the show is just show, the ads are the dough (the TV show COSTS the network, but the embedded ads bring in sponsor revenue to make up the difference). If sponsors get wind of more people using ad-skippers, they'll pressure the producers and cut the money they pay out for sponsoring the show (since they're not getting as much ad exposure back as before). IOW, the networks are being pressured to fight this tech by their sponsors.

  20. Ian Michael Gumby

    It should be legal and not violate copyright laws

    If I understand the technology correctly, the person records a TV show with commercials. Upon playing back, they have the ability to push a button and skip the commercials, right?

    The technology uses the fact that there is a signal embedded in the stream that is used to indicate when a commercial is supposed to play. (This allows for National or Local commercials to be played.)

    In addition, its possible that if the user is watching an OnDemand cable show, that one could replace the initial ad with one that is more targeted to the viewer or is more relevant. Like replacing a President's day sale, when the show is watched after sale had ended.)

    So the underlying stream which is recorded is not changed in any manner.

    Taken from a NY Times article:

    "That’s why the feature does not start working until two hours after the end of prime time each day, he said, and why the ads are preserved on the recording. (They’re hidden, however, because the Dish software knows when to skip over them.) "

    So the legality of this technology shouldn't be questioned on the grounds that they are violating copyright infringement. They are merely taking advantage of the feature built in to the signal itself.

  21. Roger Jenkins

    Formula 1 Grand Prix

    How is this for programming stupidity. I'm in Australia and I watch Formula 1. It's on a commercial channel. Being a commercial channel, I presume it must run commercials. But, they don't run money raising commercials, they run programme promotion ones. Not just any old programme promotion, oh no, they run kids show ones. But, they don't have a lot of kids shows, so they run the same ones three times each. Honest, I'm not kidding. Advertising kids shows during a Grand prix, that really is getting to the heart of the target audience eh.

  22. stucs201

    How is this changing the content?

    Surely its actually restoring the programme/film back to its original uninterupted form?

  23. TranceMist

    People still watch TV

    Wow. Reading your article I find it interesting that people still watch broadcast TV. Having been watching only streamed content for the past few years, I forgot that there are still commercials.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People still watch TV

      Why is that a fail? There are still many areas where internet services are not up to a suitable standard to allow everybody to stream everything all of the time. The ISPs complain enough just about the BBC iplayer.

      That aside, you must be in the US if you are streaming legally. You must be in the US. As it stands there is currently no way to legally stream the majority of programs in the UK as the networks won't allow services like Hulu to stream to us. Yes there are certain services like iplayer and 4od but as our networks buy a lot of programs from the US there is an awful lot we can't watch without turning to illegal services and so the law, stupid as it is makes criminals out of people who just want to watch a tv show.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: People still watch TV

        Oops didn't mean the extra you must be in the US. That'll teach me to proofread before hitting submit!

      2. Da Weezil

        Re: People still watch TV

        Yes I have yet to understand why watching South Park from a US site - after it has been transmitted in the UK - is going to affect their Intellectual Property rights, especially as there is no comparable service for this show here.

        "Screw you guys.."

    3. Da Weezil

      Re: People still watch TV

      Depends where you live... in the UK many areas are still stuck on upto 8 meg ADSL on exchanges that are not only heavily congested, but have a premium priced bandwidth over the newer faster services (The scam here is "leverage pricing" ignoring the fact that BTs own lack of investment in upgrades means there is nowhere to lever people to... contracted bandwidth pricing on 8 meg IPSC is £122 per Mbps compared to just £40 per Mbps for the newer upto 24 Mbps WBC service.

      Streaming is no fun over a congested exchange, add to that the lower bandwidth caps invariably applied to 8 meg services you might have a clue why streaming isn't happening on a huge scale for people in many areas. The BT ads might shout about fibre speed but for many stuck on BT wholesale services the reality is still the same out of date crawl that they have had for the last 10 years.

  24. Drefsab

    This is giving the customer what they want, its no different than what a lot of people do with PVR's they record the live program and skip forward through the ad's because we dont want them dont pay attention to them and dont want them.

  25. Syd

    Careful What You Wish For (The Facebook Problem)

    One of the reasons we all jumped to Facebook from mySpace was the ads - they were much more discreet on FB, but this also meant that FB's ads were much less effective, so FB had to resort to more... er... 'artful' ways of making money.

    So, if you think product placements are bad now, just wait until the TV networks can't make anything on regular advertising because of tech like this.

  26. Novex

    Subscription and/or Adverts

    What gets me, in this wizzo technological day and age, is that Sky seem intent on not doing something that might* get them more money - provide both a free advert version, and a subscription 'non-advert'** version of each channel. The programmes on the subscription version start later, and have adverts _between_ the programmes only, but this allows programmes on both versions to finish at the same time. This way, it's up to the viewer to decide whether they want the free ride with adverts getting in the way, or the pay form with the adverts out of the way of the programmes themselves.

    As for ad-skipping, I have a Humax Freeview PVR (getting quite old now admittedly, it doesn't even have an HDMI output, only a scart!) that has time adjustable skipping settings that are accessed by buttons on the remote to skip forwards or backwards. So not exactly new, and certainly there seems to be no legal block on them in the UK. I don't know if the latest models still have them though.

    One thing that doesn't seem to have been mentioned so far is that most broadcast advertising doesn't get people to buy a product, and this has been known for some time. It just raises awareness of the existence of products, and most people either don't remember the adverts, or skip or ignore them anyway. In the future, the only way advertising will really be workable is if it can be directed to those people specifically interested in a product at the time they are looking into it. The only current way that is done is with things like Gongle and Biog searches that have sponsored ads alongside the search results.

    * I haven't done the maths, so don't know if they'd screw up their income or not

    ** OK, so there are adverts, but that's just to pad out the dead air between programmes

  27. Richard Scratcher

    It's war!

    Time was when TV advertising was rather good and done responsibly but these days, perhaps because of the arrival of dozens of cheap channels, the viewer is not treated with any respect at all.

    Adverts used to be preceded with with an "End of part..." message but then they started cutting in without warning and then a further step was to cut in during an important bit of dialogue. No matter that Poirot is about to tell you the butler didn't do it, if 12 minutes have elapsed since the last break then wallop!

    And if you decide to pre-record all your favourite shows so that you can skip the four minute advert breaks, the bastards try to wind you up by making some of them 3 or 5 minute slots.

    Shows are hacked to bits in order to fit the extended advert slots and TV companies daren't waste precious airtime to tell you what's on next so they paste it all over the climax of the show you've tuned in to watch!.

    I'm pretty sure that when Alfred Hitchcock was planning his breathtaking and frightening cinematography he didn't envisage some poxy computer graphic popping up to tell viewers there's a new season of Celebrity Dancing Chef Apprentice starting soon.

    Oh and just in case you're too brain dead to know what channel you're watching and don't know which button to press to find out, there's a big multicoloured glowing channel logo superimposed on Captain Picard's forehead like an Amy Winehouse tattoo.

    You Tube is full of postings of classic adverts that people are actually watching with a sense of nostalgia. Today's adverts just make you say "Oh F...F... S... not again, where's the remote".

    It's war I tell ya!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's war!

      The old episodes of The Sweeney and Minder on ITV 4 are quite telling. Despite being produced with adverts in mind, ITV4 show so many adverts they have to hack an additional 4 or so minutes from each episode. This is often done with all the skill and finesse of a one armed drunken man with a chainsaw.

      Mind you, UK Gold used to change all the advert slots in Minder so you'd hear the theme cutting in at the start of a scene where previously there was a break.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Surely insering adverts into films is changing content and therefore a breach of copyright in itself? I have never knowingly bought anything because it was advertised on TV. Indeed the TV ads are the biggest turn off in my opinion. They are like the cold caller that rings your doorbell while you are in the middle of dinner, or repairing something. Usually the second word is -off.

  30. stefan 5

    ~American have soooooo many more adverts.

    Every time i goto america i want to pull my hair out at there tv. non stop adverts and ad breaks every 10 minutes. Dam rite skipping should be auto.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ~American have soooooo many more adverts.

      I'm just back from 2 weeks in the US. Easy solution to the problem, I didn't turn the TV in my hotel rooms on. Not once, the whole trip. I didn't miss it.

  31. mark 63 Silver badge

    separate copies

    Its that kind of uninformed thinking that means my company has to pay to have RAM chips "securely" disposd of.

  32. mark 63 Silver badge

    slightly off topic whats a PVR?

    A Personal Video Recorder right?

    what the hell is personal about it?

    "personal stereo" - yes , makes sense

    "personal computer" , also maks sense

    the way its used in PVR is just stupid , it makes as much sense as "I'm off home in our personal car to to make dinner in our pesonal oven to eat while watchig my personal TV"

  33. IanW

    The very thing Doc Searls cites

    Excellent book called "The Intention Economy" by one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto. All PVR customers skip adverts; they've already voted. All's left is the advertising industry who are still trying to push output customers don't need nor want. Time for them to rationalise their business model; behaving like dinosaurs is not a useful long term strategy for their ultimate survival.

  34. mark 63 Silver badge

    a neccasary evil

    i hate adverts as much as the next guy , and a rarely watch live tv, I watch yesterdays tv that i recorded an skip the ads


    We're the guilty ones here , the 'deal' is:

    people make TV programs

    advertisers PAY to have ads because we will watch them

    If we dont watch them, they wont pay the tv people and no more TV

    so lets at least pretend to watch em!

    bring on the downvotes!

  35. Absent

    That little flashing barcode that used to be in the top right corner of TV programs

    and appeared around the start and end of every advert break. Wasn't the purpose of that so that compatible VCRs could pause and unpause recording thus skipping the adverts? This was inserted by the broadcasters so surely they advocated ad-skipping in the past.

    1. DiViDeD
      Big Brother

      Re: That little flashing barcode that used to be in the top right corner of TV programs

      No, it was so that regional ITV company technicians could line up their local ads when retransmitting. Channel 4, I believe had a teletext based recording system which allowed compatible VCRs to pause during breaks using those very codes, but it was withdrawn pretty damn quick at the request of <ahem> well, nobody at all, really, C4 simply decided it would be wrong to deprive viewers of the commercials.

  36. Dropper

    Too much money

    Satellite and cable providers charge far too much money for TV these days, so I'm not sure I care whether Dish wins this or not. Over the last 8-10 years prices have been steadily pushed up while content has largely remained the same. All the premium channels have doubled in price along with the cost of a basic channel lineup.

    Which is why I dumped cable and refused to sign up for satellite TV.

    I have netflix and hulu plus, which has less than a top end basic cable/satellite package - but not by much - but it costs $44 less. $16 vs $60.

    Of course it's conditional on having decent internet service, but as that is something I would be buying regardless of anything else, I don't include it as part of my costs.

    With Hulu and Netflix I can't store shows on a DVR (at least not legally) but then they make having a DVR superfluous anyway, as you can do anything with streamed content that you can with DVR-stored content, except pause the live TV I don't get now. I don't need a box that stores 100-500 hrs of TV I'll never get around to watching. You watch what you record onto these things? I call bullshit on that immediately.

  37. pierce
    Black Helicopters

    RCA had a VCR based system that very cleverly scanned the video while rewinding the just recorded show, and looked for 'fade to blacks' that were exact multiples of 30 seconds apart, and tagged the control track of the tape ... then when playing it would auto-FF past these blocks, which were, with 99% probability, commercials.

    IIRC, this was patented. IIRC, they got sued by the big-3 networks, and were forced to take this off the market.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commercial Insertion

    This whole topic revolves about the contracts for Commercial Insertion.

    I would know; the design for it was a result of yours truly.

    So, for the case where automation comes to play, Echostar has the whole vertical, they own the data, they own the distribution, and they own the content that gets replaced, and the replacement if not watched is replaced by a "flat-fee" for when the subscriber does in fact skip...

    It is the peanuts that are paid to the content providers that is raising the ire of Disney and GE.

    They dont like the ratings hit they take on fully closed verticals that they get from Neilsen, when a programme is "Bypassed" since any insert is the result of the distributor rather than the content provider.

    Of course the Mouse no like that eh?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Commercial Insertion

      I wish I understood what you're saying - it sounds like it might be interesting!

  39. David Kelly 2

    Worthless Content

    There are many channels on Dish which play perhaps 5 minutes of content followed by 5 minutes of commercials. Same commercials every 5 minutes. 7 minute commercial breaks are not uncommon. I know based on how many times I have to press the 30-seconds-forward button.

    If the commercials were worthwhile I wouldn't want to skip them.

  40. Purlieu

    Pay per view

    Ok this is Sky not Dish but same principle ...

    I've already paid to have these programmes on my Sky+ box complete with adverts in them. When watching I manually pause/skip the adverts. I would love an auto feature to do this. The data in in the files, the box knows where the adverts start and end, it's a doddle to send a firmware upgrade to do this.

    The point here is ... I have PAID to Sky to have the adverts on my box ... they already have their income. The advertiser is chancing that by seeing their ad I might buy the product advertised. That is their choice to take that chance. My choice is to not watch their advert. Do they have choice but say that I don't have choice ?

    Aside: Sky you must really stop gouging your own customers, you are becoming part of the problem e.g. Amir Khan fight last year-ish ... I pay Sky subscription, on top of that I pay £15 for the fight, then Sky choose to put out 20 minutes of adverts against 25 minutes of the fight ... I thought I had paid to watch the fight, not to watch FUCKING ADVERTS ... wake up Sky you will ultimately fall over stuff like this.

  41. Purlieu

    Our solution for live TV

    Ok not very good but it works in a way ...

    Start recording the live TV but don't watch it for say 10 minutes, then start watching it as though "live" ... you can then fast forward through the adverts until you eventually catch up with "real time" ... when this happens, have you own break with the player on pause, thus building up your "buffer" again.

  42. KirstarK

    You have to love the BBC and no ads :)

    I know that anything I watch now gets recorded rather than watched live sol I can fast forward past the ads.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political Ads?

    The UK has nothing even remotely resembling the sort of ads that certain regions in the US will see over the next 5 months, as the US Presidential campaign, and Congressional and Senate campaigns kick up into high gear.

    In cities and states where the elections are competitive, ads made by and for companies that have real products to sell and have real tax-paying employees, will be replaced by wall to wall muck raking soundbites - 30 second "ads" that will be repeated 3 or 4 times during an hour of programming, that often contain outright lies, or at best, tendentious distortions of the truth.

    Given that politicians exempted themselves from the "DO Not Call" legislation, Dish should be worried that politicians will push to make commercial skipping illegal so that citizens are forced to watch these attack ads!

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