May 17, 2012

Talking Technology!

There's a saying about it making a difference whose ox is being gored.

Television network executives are in a tizzy today, the New York Times reports, over a new digital video recorder that can automatically delete commercials from the programs it records.

The device is being offered by Dish Network, a satellite program distributer that the networks had heretofore considered an ally. The technology to skip commercials has long been available, but DVR manufacturers and distributors, wary of potential lawsuits, haven't made it available. The introduction of Dish's "Auto Hop" changes that, and the networks are outraged.

Ted Harbert, the chairman of NBC Broadcasting, calls the new device an insult to the television industry. “Just because technology gives you the ability to do something, does that mean you should?" he says. "Not always."

Obviously, Harbert fails to appreciate one of the basic laws of technological nature: once a technique becomes available, it will be used, inevitably. There's no small irony in this, given that the television networks and their advertisers have long been the beneficiaries of one of the most disruptive technologies in history, one they've never hesitated to exploit to the fullest extent possible.

The lesson: In technology, the Disrupter today will be the Disrupted tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of people already fast-forward through commercials if they have a DVR. Dish is just making it easier for their customers and giving them the option to do Auto Hop on the Primetime Anytime shows. You do have to wait until the day after in order to use the feature, which to me makes it fair. Some of my co-workers at Dish showed me Auto Hop works, so last night I checked it out on my Hopper. I absolutely loved that I only had to enable it at the beginning of the shows and not have to worry about trying to find the right spot of the next scene. I applaud Dish for allowing the customers this choice.