A while back, I had to review the DISH Network Hopper Whole-Home DVR. If you want to know all of the ins and outs about the device, you can read my review. Bottom line: I think it’s awesome. It’s the best thing to happen to TV since the DVR. Yes, it’s a DVR, but it’s a lot more. It’s also caused a lot of controversy.
The Hopper has two features that set it apart from anything else out there. The PrimeTime Anytime feature records everything on ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC during primetime hours. Everything. Don’t like American Idol? You’re getting it anyway. It records across the board and functions like a mini version of on-demand.
Once that stuff sits in the PrimeTime Anytime menu for about a day, you can use the Auto Hop feature to zap out all of the commercials. This option has all four networks pretty pissed and lawsuits are currently flying all over the place. Of course, Auto Hop is basically the same thing we’ve been doing for years with the fast-forward button. However, I guess because you get the occasional glimpse of an Olive Garden ad or something, the networks consider that to be passable.
Instead of lawyers and paperwork, the networks should be sending DISH some fruit baskets, because now I’m watching more TV shows than ever before. I didn’t say that was a good thing, but it is what it is. Here are a few things I’ve watched just because they magically appeared under the PrimeTime Anytime menu on my DVR:
- Animal Practice: I watched more than one episode of this. I’m not proud to admit that, but nothing states my point better. Also, I love Justin Kirk, so I think that I was doomed from the first promo.
- Smash: I’m not a musical person, but enjoyed the concept. Then it turned into something else that I don’t really care about at all.
- Guys With Kids: I wanted to like this. It’s got Anthony Anderson, the guy from Bring It On, and Jimmy Fallon’s name above the title. The laugh track is completely distracting, but that’s probably a good thing.
- Go On: I call this “not Friends.”
- The New Normal: I’ve watched every episode and still don’t have no clue whether I like it or not. I will probably continue to watch it until it stops showing up on my DVR.
- The Taste: It’s 50 percent The Voice, 50 percent MasterChef, and 100 percent horrible.
There’s probably more that I could list, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, some of the networks don’t and they’re coming off poorly. The whole thing has gotten so insane that CBS got CNET pulled from the annual CES awards because they “made” them pull the new Hopper with Sling from its “Best of Show” program. Now, they are threatening poor Kaley Cuoco over some stupid Tweet. She’s on one of the network’s hottest shows, but apparently not free to have her own opinions.
Listen, I get what the networks are saying. Really, they couldn’t care if you watch Animal Practice, Private Practice or reruns of The Practice. They want you to watch ads — all of them. I have news for you, though; people don’t watch them anyway. They want to believe that, but this is when we grab a snack, fill up our drinks, and take our bathroom breaks. Also, the Auto Hop isn’t exactly foolproof. You always get a peek at the ads going into and out of the commercial breaks. Don’t even get me started about the ads at the bottom of the screen during the shows or product placement. I need to get back to my horrible TV…