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New ad zapper has TV networks worried about sales

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(AP) – The maker of a new DVR that lets consumers zap away commercials at the touch of a button is suggesting that broadcast TV networks are being short-sighted in opposing the technology.

The Dish Network has offered its new Auto Hop feature on new digital video recorders since March. Its executives said Tuesday that they believe the people who buy the machine are watching more network TV than before.

But Dish officials admit they don’t yet have hard data to back up that contention.

Network officials say the device threatens the economic structure of the TV business, which largely relies on ad sales to make money.

Nearly half of American homes with televisions now have DVRs. There hasn’t been any measurable impact on the rates advertisers have been paying for commercials, but there’s concern that could change if the commercials are eliminated entirely.

KFWB TiVO/DVR Poll

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