Dish Network has introduced a new model of digital video recorder (DVR) that comes with a variety of features that can make viewing television (TV) shows much easier. The new DVR is known as the Hopper. The device is able to use a feature of Dish Network known as PrimeTime Anytime. PrimeTime Anytime gives Dish Network customers the ability to record all of the primetime programming on all of the four major TV broadcast networks at the same time. These programs are then saved so they can be viewed at any point in the next eight days.
The one feature of the new Hopper DVR boxes that is attracting the most attention is the Dish Auto Hop feature. This is a revolutionary new idea that gives viewers the ability to completely remove all of the commercial breaks that occur during a primetime broadcast. It is different from fast forward and 30-second-skip features because every commercial is automatically removed without any input from the user once the feature is activated. The commercials are actually recorded along with the program. This means it is possible to watch the program with Auto Hop disabled so the commercials can be viewed as well.
The Auto Hop feature can be activated by viewers at the start of a primetime program that has been recorded with the PrimeTime Anytime service. Activating Auto Hop means that the DVR will skip TV commercials automatically. The only sign that there was a commercial break is a small Hopper logo in the bottom corner of the screen and a sudden flash of a commercial before the program resumes. This can reduce the amount of time it takes to watch a single show and can make it easier for viewers to explore new shows without sitting through long blocks of advertising. The experience of watching a dramatic commercial free TV show can be made better because the mood that is created will not be broken by intrusive and irrelevant advertising.
Viewers who are using the Dish Auto Hop feature might still need to use the skip-ahead button for some broadcasts. Auto Hop currently works exclusively with PrimeTime Anywhere. The feature is also not available until a few hours after the program has aired. Local broadcasts, news and sports are not covered by this feature. Regardless, the implementation of Auto Hop on the new Hopper DVRs is an amazing step forward for consumers because it finally puts the viewer in complete control of the broadcast. The total absence of advertising while watching a show means that only the programming that a viewer wants to see will be played.