By Darren Franich
May 15, 2012 at 09:41 PM EDT

We all used to be annoyed by commercials. Thanks to the wonders of DVR, we’re now just annoyed by the need to fast-forward through commercials, and then maybe also rewind for a few seconds if we go too far, and thus still be forced to experience the last few annoying milliseconds of that Zooey Deschanel iPhone ad. But what if there were a way to eliminate advertisements from your TV-watching experience? That’s the pitch behind a new DVR feature released last week for Dish Network subscribers called “the Auto-Hop,” which replaces commercial breaks with a few pregnant moments of black screen.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the feature is part of a larger system called “The Hopper” — which is available for an extra $10 to Dish subscribers — and it’s already proving controversial. The DVR era marked a difficult transition for the broadcast networks, who rely on advertisements for their bottom line. That’s the reason for the explosion of watercooler-bait reality TV — who watches Dancing With the Stars the day after? — and also the reason why low-rated shows with high DVR numbers tend to feature prominent product placement. (Hence: Subway opening a franchise on Community.) In short, don’t be surprised if the next season of Grimm features Nick meeting mythological creatures like Tony the Tiger, the Geico Gecko, and that scary clown in a yellow jumpsuit who eats kids for breakfast.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

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