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CES Awards The DISH Hopper “Best Of CES” After All, Drops CNET As Awards Partner

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CES today issued a press release announcing that DISH’s Hopper with Sling technology built-in is the “Best of Show” after all, an honor it will share with existing winner the Razer Edge for the 2013 show. The decision follows the revelation that CNET was ordered to remove the Hopper from consideration after CNET parent company CBS asked them to. CBS is currently involved in litigation with DISH over Hopper functionality.

Along with the granting of the award, CES also announced that it will launch an RFP seeking a new partner for the “Best of CES” awards “soon”, since it isn’t confident that relationship with CNET will continue to be beneficial for the CES brand.

“CES has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with CNET and the Best of CES awards,” CEA SVP of Events and Conferences Karen Chupka said in the release.  “However, we are concerned the new review policy will have a negative impact on our brand should we continue the awards relationship as currently constructed.  We look forward to receiving new ideas to recognize the ‘best of the best’ products introduced at the International CES.”

The DISH Hopper with Sling can record and play back programming within a 24 hour window after its airing, without commercials, which is the source of CBS’s legal dispute with DISH. CEA joined up with other tech organizations last week to file a brief in support of DISH around the Hopper, as the company is clearly eager to distance itself from the editorial decision made by CNET and its parent company, which came under fire from other media organizations (ours included) and tech industry watchers alike.

CEA came out in strong support of the DISH Hopper in a statement from Gary Shapiro included in the release:

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. We believe that the DISH Hopper DVR is fully covered by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios Inc. The simple fact is making television easier to watch is not against the law. It is simply pro-innovation and pro-consumer.

The fallout for CNET has already resulted in the departure of Greg Sandoval from the network, who resigned his post, citing a loss of confidence in CBS’s commitment to editorial independence as his reason for leaving.