Dish Network’s Hopper with Sling Whole-Home HD DVR was disqualified from CNET’s “Best of CES” awards program at the last minute today because CNET’s parent, CBS Corp., is in litigation with DISH regarding Hopper’s consumer-friendly Prime Time Any Time and the AutoHop commercial-skipping features.
After CNET posted a review entitled “Dish Hopper with Sling: HD DVR almost has it all,” Hopper with Sling was named a finalist by CNET for its Best of CES awards. Winners were named today at the International CES.
The following statement can be attributed to DISH CEO and President Joe Clayton:
“We are saddened that CNET’s staff is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS’ heavy-handed tactics. This action has nothing to do with the merits of our new product. 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.
DISH is not afraid to stand up for consumer rights and we think that Hopper with Sling will do well, despite the network’s questionable actions.
We have had a long, productive relationship with CNET’s editorial staff and we look forward to continuing that relationship. We welcome their unbiased evaluation and commentary of our products and services.”
The new Hopper with Sling, unveiled at 2013 CES, delivers several capabilities that improve the DISH experience at home and on the go by allowing customers to watch live and recorded television anywhere on Internet-connected tablets, smartphones and PCs at no additional charge using the Hopper’s new built-in Sling capabilities as well as move recorded television to an iPad for viewing without an Internet connection.
In a convoluted way, Dish Network will likely get more coverage for their product by this controversy, than if they had won CNET’s Best of CES. At the same time, CNET’s editorial bias is revealed, which tarnishes a once independent brand. If CNET’s editor’s do not have the editorial freedom to write honest reviews, why should they be trusted going forward when reviewing DISH, DIRECTV, or other media conglomerate products?