Just thought I'd point out that there were commercial skip add-ons for Windows Media Center long before the Hopper came out. It's sort of the ultimate couch-potato feature: for folks for whom even pushing the "skip forward" button on their remote is too much work!
Commercial skipping technology isn't perfect, and probably never will be. Besides, a lot of commercials are already embedded in shows; particularly time-sensitive shows like sports. If Dish wins (and I think they should; there's nothing remotely illegal about automatically analyzing a video recording, whether to identify likely commercials or for any other purpose), it just means broadcasters will have to get cleverer about disguising commercials to look more like regular programming, which they're already doing anyway thanks to "ordinary" DVRs. For instance, they'll probably start sticking their network logo "bugs" on the commercials as well as the programming.
Remember, the broadcasters said the same things about "ordinary" DVRs and even about VCRs when they came out, and the sky didn't fall.
I'll be curious to see whether the Hopper can automatically skip those annoying "my opponent eats babies" political ads, though
Guess we'll find out around Oct. 2014