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How do you watch commercial-free TV with DISH?

Last updated on February 20th, 2013 by George Levint

If you’re here, there’s a good chance you ran across one of DISH Network’s ads touting their commercial-free TV. It’s called AutoHop and it’s a feature of their relatively new Hopper receiver. But how exactly does it work and is it worth switching to DISH for it? Read on for more…

Skip commercials with one click

AutoHop only works with recorded network shows (ABC, NBC, FOX, etc). During playback, your Hopper receiver will ask you if you want to skip all the commercials. Simply click “Yes” and it’ll show you a dark screen for a few seconds as it jumps through a block of commercials. Your show then resumes exactly where it left off and remembers your preference for the rest of the program. It’s easy to enable and actually a pretty big score for DISH (other providers have attempted to develop similar technology in the past but couldn’t pull it off).

Why does it only work with network shows? Simply because the Hopper system automatically records those programs and has a built-in technology to recognize their commercials. In the future, you may see it extended to any recorded show (cable, regional sports networks, etc.), but there’s no public timetable.

Will AutoHop always be available?

Tentatively, yes. As you can imagine, AutoHop didn’t make many friends with network executives. Their bread and butter comes from ad revenue and with Dish Network’s growing customer base, their ad rates are straight in the cross hairs. There’s already a lawsuit out against DISH claiming AutoHop is illegal. If history is any indication, they’ll probably battle it out in court for a year or two. DISH is on pretty solid ground here, so don’t expect the service to change (or be removed) anytime soon.

Is it worth switching to DISH?

If you watch a lot of network programming and a fair amount of TV, in a word, yes. Almost everyone I know already skips through commercials – manually – but it’s SO much more convenient to sit back and let Hopper do it for you. If you’re a DIRECTV customer and were already thinking of switching to DISH (to save money, change plans, etc), Autohop probably cinches the deal. If you’re generally happy with DIRECTV, it’s probably not worth switching just for AutoHop. Cable subscribers looking to move on: no question, jump on the current deal (free Hopper with AutoHop at signup) while you can…

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