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FCC Proposes Changes For Cable Set-Top Box

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Nearly every home in America has one and those families, the Federal Communications Commission believes, are over paying for their cable set-top box.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

In fact, the FCC outlined in a new proposal, the average American household pays $231 annually to rent the devices which allow them to tap into their cable provider’s content. The rental price has, the commission noted, increased 185 percent over the past two decades while the prices for other devices such as smartphones and computers has decreased.

So, backed with that information, the FCC is proposing a change to the system which would allow consumers to choose which device they want to use to get their cable or satellite television.

“Consumers should be able to choose how they access the Multichannel Video Programming Distributor’s (MVPDs) – cable, satellite or telco companies – video services to which they subscribe,” the proposal states. “For example, consumers should be able to have the choice of accessing programming through the MVPD-provided interface on a pay-TV set-top box or app, or through devices such as a tablet or smart TV using a competitive app or software. MVPDs and competitors should be able to differentiate themselves and compete based on the experience they offer users, including the quality of the user interface and additional features like suggested content, integration with home entertainment systems, caller ID and future innovations.”

As reported by PC Mag, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler penned an op-ed piece for Re/Code on the matter noting it is time consumers have options where they are not held hostage to high prices by cable companies and satellite TV providers.

“To receive streaming Internet video, it is necessary to have a smart TV, or to watch it on a tablet or laptop computer that, similarly, do not have access to the channels and content that pay-TV subscribers pay for. The result is multiple devices and controllers, constrained program choice and higher costs,” stated Wheeler.

The commission will vote on the proposal next month. If successful, the proposal will then be open to public comment, after which the agency will take a final vote.

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W. Brice McVicar

W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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