First, let me apologize to anyone who tried to visit here in the past week only to be turned away, often by a 500 database error. According to my web host, FTABlog suddenly began devouring huge chunks of memory for no good reason, and its server had nothing to do with that. After wrestling with the problem for a few days, I moved the blog to a new host, and this time the transition seems to have been successful. Who says I never learn my lesson?
Now I’ve got a lot of CES reporting to catch up on. The first, most interesting bit is that I was proved right; the onsite staff of CNet reportedly voted Dish Network’s Hopper with Sling receiver as 2013 CES Best of Show. Unfortunately for Dish, CBS owns CNet, and CBS (among others) is suing Dish because of the Hopper’s advertising-skipping function. So CBS got wind of the award and squashed it, directing CNet to pick somebody else.
The Verge has a superb story on the whole affair, and it gets bonus points from me for dragging in Alki David, our friend from FilmOn.com. Quite a while ago, fresh from getting smacked by CBS (among others) after his first attempts to stream over-the-air programming, David sued CBS for allowing CNet to report extensively on piracy, including how-to pieces, and for the related site Download.com, which supposedly hosted circumvention software. In that lawsuit, CBS lawyers argued that CNet was independent of CBS’s control. The Verge writes, “Holding CBS responsible forCNET, CBS’ lawyers argued, ‘would create grave uncertainties for writers and publishers — including search engines, web encyclopedias, blogs and most technology journalists — that seek to communicate truthful information about emerging technologies including P2P file-sharing services.'”
I don’t know whether David can use this to show that CBS isn’t quite so hands-off when it comes to CNet, and I think it’s a darned shame that Dish was denied another CES Best of Show (it won in 2009 for the ViP 922 receiver). But I think the Hopper has a chance of beating the courts and becoming a real game-changer. As a Dish shareholder, I sure hope so.