The FCC has been pushing the Cable Industry to allow consumers to access “universal” devices to access cable and other services. The industry doesn’t like this idea because it would remove a revenue stream from their operations and make it easier for customers to access other programming sources. Now a half year after the FCC made its initial proposals, the industry is responding with their own proposal.

Cable industry offers alternate plan to FCCs unlocked set-top boxes


The counter offer was presented this week at meetings with the FCC, with representatives from Comcast, AT&T/DirecTV, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), and more in attendance.

The first part of the cable companies’ plan involves ditching set-top boxes altogether, freeing customers from having to lease equipment, and saving money in the process. This aspect is sure to please the FCC, but cable companies’ prime interest is in maintaining things like DRM and advertising channels.

Replacing set-top boxes would be HTML5-based apps that could run on a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. These apps would be free and simple to implement for device manufacturers, and would offer universal search features that access not only the cable provider’s content, but streaming services like Netflix as well.
Cable industry offers alternate plan to FCCs unlocked set-top boxes – SlashGear  read more at

So what does the FCC Think of the Industries new plan? According to Politico…

Industry plan opens new chapter in set-top box debate

​— THE FCC DIDN’T HATE IT: The FCC and its supporters did not endorse the proposal. But they also expressed a willingness to hear more details — a noteworthy development in what’s become a bitter debate. The FCC said it “looks forward” to getting more specifics, while the Consumer Video Choice Coalition — which includes set-top box plan proponents Google and Public Knowledge — said the proposal “presents both some positive movement and some familiar limitations that could fall short of delivering an open, competitive marketplace.”

There does seem to be some partisanship involved int he debate between idnsutry and the FCC and Congress whose oversight and budgetary heft are clearly in play as funding for the FCC is uo for debate.

Unlock the cable set-top box, Democrats urge – CNET


Congressional Democrats are throwing their weight behind a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to bring competition to the cable set-top box market.

“Opponents of the FCC’s proposal to unlock the cable box have thrown together a salad of criticisms to derail it and have kept the market locked up for 20 years at a yearly intake of $20 billion,” Eshoo said at the press conference. “It’s time for innovation and competition in this market so consumers can finally win.”

But critics say the FCC’s rules are unnecessary in a market that’s moving away from a box in favor of apps that run on mobile devices, gaming consoles and TVs.

“Today, anyone with an Internet connection can buy a streaming device for less than $50 and access thousands of movies and TV shows, including from networks traditionally only available through your cable company’s box, such as ESPN, CBS, Disney, Showtime and others,” Roku CEO Anthony Wood said in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in April.

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