This week marks the 71st anniversary of the first television ad ever -- a spot from the watch company Bulova that ran during an NBC telecast of a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
But instead of celebrating this moment, the broadcast networks are engaged in a legal battle with satellite broadcaster Dish Network's latest innovation — a device that makes it easy to skip commercials on recorded shows from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
Called the AutoHop, it can be used on recorded shows from the big four broadcast networks. It zaps the commercials from the shows, saving subscribers the hassle of fast-forwarding. The screen goes dark during a commercial break for a few seconds, and then the show resumes.
The broadcast networks claim it violates copyright law. On Monday, a New York Court is expected to determine whether the case between Dish and ABC, CBS and Fox will be heard in New York or Los Angeles.