CBS to Dish: No CES Award for You!

Photograph by David Becker/Getty Images

Dish's Hopper with Sling is displayed at a press event during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Earlier this week at CES, Dish Chief Executive Officer Joe Clayton unveiled the satellite TV provider’s newest product, the Hopper with Sling, and tech website CNET liked it.

The set-top box has Sling built right into the hardware, allowing customers to get their TV shows live on mobile devices. It’s Dish’s take on the “TV Everywhere” experience, and CNET named the Englewood, Colorado-based company a finalist for its Best of CES awards.

There’s just one problem. CBS owns CNET. And CBS is engaged in a lawsuit with Dish right now over AutoHop, a feature of the Hopper that allows customers to automatically skip commercials for day-old shows with the touch of a button. No more fast forwarding. CBS says it’s copyright violation.

So, according to Dish, CBS has told CNET’s staff it must disqualify Dish from getting an award at the show.

“We are saddened that CNET’s staff is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS’ heavy-handed tactics,” Clayton said in a statement. “Hopper with Sling is all about consumer choice and control over the TV experience. That CBS, which owns CNET.com, would censor that message is insulting to consumers.”

CBS responded with an e-mailed statement confirming the award was pulled for litigation reasons: “The Dish Hopper with Sling was removed from consideration due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp. We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.”

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