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FCC Plans to Kill the Cable Box

Olivia Long - September 9, 2016 - 10:50 AM
FCC Plans to Kill the Cable Box
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has proposed a deal to replace set-top cable boxes with apps.

(CCM) — In its continued efforts to increase competition in the cable television market, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a plan to do away with set-top cable boxes, Business Insider UK reports. It plans to replace the current practice of renting cable boxes from pay TV providers with the use of unrestricted streaming apps, which cable companies with more than one million subscribers would be required to provide its customers. They would also be required to open up their content to a universal search function. The hope is that this plan will not only save customers money but that it will unify their TV-watching experiences.

The plan does not allow the companies much flexibility, but it does allow them to make the choice to either create the apps themselves or to outsource their creation to another developer. Cable providers have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the plan, citing piracy and licensing concerns as well as the facts that it would give tech firms too much control and that it would be too technically difficult to put in place. They have also brought up the possibility of involved third-parties inserting their own ads over cable content. Of course, the biggest concern is the price tag — the plan is expected to cost cable providers billions of dollars in revenue in the long run. The FCC will hold a vote on the proposal on Sept. 29. If passed, eligible cable companies will have two years to make the shift from set-top boxes to the full use of a streaming app.

Image: © Janusz Pienkowski - Shutterstock.com
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