Ordinarily the decision by judges at the CEA Line Show in New York to honor Dish Network’s Hopper DVR with the Best of Show award wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy. But the citation is meaningful this year as virtually every leading broadcaster is asking the courts to rule that the device — with its ability to automatically skip past ads on recorded shows — violates contract agreements and copyrights. Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton seized the opportunity to make the company’s case that the AutoHop ad-zapping feature “is an extension of what consumers already do, skip commercials on shows they record.” Yesterday Chairman Charlie Ergen told a congressional committee that the device protects kids from having  “no choice but to see commercials for junk food and alcohol.” Hearst Television chief David Barrett, representing the National Association of Broadcasters, said that AutoHop “remains a threat to the local broadcasting system.”

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