UPDATE, 2: 48 PM: Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton weighs in on the award, and twists the knife into CBS. He says that he appreciates International CES’ “decision to stand with the consumer” by granting the “Best of Show” award to the Hopper With Sling DVR. And he adds that he looks forward to “continuing our longstanding relationship with CNET’s editorial staff and hope they are able return to their long tradition of unbiased evaluation and commentary of the industry’s products and services.”
PREVIOUS, 11:20 AM: Here’s yet more embarrassment for CBS from its heavy-handed decision to bar its tech site CNET from giving the Internatonal CES “Best of Show” award to Dish Network’s Hopper With Sling DVR. CBS said the news site’s editors — who designate the CES award winners — couldn’t recognize the Hopper because broadcasters are suing Dish, alleging that the Hopper’s ability to automatically zip past ads on recorded shows violates their copyrights. But today the trade show gave the award to the Hopper anyway, making it a co-winner with the Razer Edge gaming tablet. (CNET editors made that the winner after CBS forced them to take the Hopper off their list.) “The CNET editorial team identified the Hopper Sling as the most innovative product of the show, and we couldn’t agree more,” says Karen Chupka, who’s the Consumer Electronics Association’s SVP for events and conferences. What’s more, the group says it will look for a new partner to replace CNET in running the annual awards. CBS’ corporate policy could “have a negative impact on our brand,” Chupka says.
The trade group has filed an amicus brief supporting Dish in the court battle with broadcasters, “We are shocked that the ‘Tiffany’ network which is known for its high journalistic standards would bar all its reporters from favorably describing classes of technology the network does not like,” CEA chief Gary Shapiro says “The simple fact is making television easier to watch is not against the law. It is simply pro-innovation and pro-consumer.” CNET lost one of its top reporters as a result of CBS’ editorial interferrence. Dish has also used the controversy to promote the Hopper.