Dish's Charlie Ergen Suggests AutoHop Shields Kids from Junk Food Ads

Dish Logo New - H 2012

Dish Logo New - H 2012

The company chairman addressed commercial-skipping and wireless plans during a congressional hearing Wednesday, .

At a congressional hearing Wednesday, Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen offered up a new reason why the ad-skipping AutoHop should be permissible. "Allowing your kids to watch TV doesn’t have to mean they have no choice but to see commercials for junk food and alcohol," he said.

Dish is involved in a fight against the major networks over AutoHop as well as another feature of its DVR called "Primetime Anytime," which the broadcasters attack as "a bootleg, commercial-free video-on-demand service."

Ergen defended the service as "nothing more than improving upon existing, legally accepted, and widely available technologies that give consumers the ability to record their television shows for playback at a more convenient time."

The comments came during a "future of video" hearing before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

Ergen also addressed other concerns, including deals between cable and wireless companies.

"We certainly would have a concern where two vicious competitors might get together and agree not to compete with each other and preclude others from competing with them," he testified.

Last year, Verizon bought wireless spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks for $3.6 billion in a deal where the parties agreed to sell each other's products.

Ergen would like the FCC to move to approve their own use of broadband wireless spectrum. He said that Dish couldn't get started until the FCC updates its rules on how satellite licenses can be used for terrestrial mobile broadband.

"We want to build the most advanced wireless network in the U.S. to compete against the well-established incumbents, but we need to begin as soon as possible to have a chance," said Ergen.