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CNET: We Can’t Review Aereo Either

WASHINGTON — Technology-news website CNET reminded readers in an online story that it can’t review products with which parent CBS Corp. has a legal bone to pick, but this time the target was over-the-top video provider Aereo, rather than Dish Network’s Hopper with Sling DVR.

A Jan. 24 CNET story about an updated Aereo app that allows for streaming live or recorded TV- station signals without an iPad or iPhone included a disclaimer: “Disclosure: CBS, the parent corporation of CNET, is currently in active litigation with Aereo as to the legality of its service. As a result of that conflict of interest, CNET cannot review that service going forward.”

CNET had to pull Hopper from consideration for its Best of CES Show awards for the same reason (“New Screens, Same Static,” Jan. 14, page 6). CBS and other broad- casters are suing Hopper because it skips commercials, which they say violates their contracts and the law. They are suing Aereo because they allege it illegally streams TV signals without permission or payment.

CNET emphasized the conflict-of-interest angle later in the story when it brought up the lawsuit, saying in a parenthetical: “CNET is a subsidiary of CBS — see the full disclosure above regarding our updated coverage rules.”

Last Thursday, the Consumer Electronics Association nixed its deal with CNET as the official partner of the “Best of CES” awards program, citing CBS’s decision to overrule CNET editors on the Hopper pick.