The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is taking aim at video set-top boxes, including those that stream content from the internet, over growing concerns about models being marketed and distributed that don’t meet commission requirements.
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Today, the vast majority of customers still need to rent a box to get full service from cable providers, and often-promised box-replacing apps remain elusive. Here’s what happened.
A proposal to let consumers replace set-top boxes with apps “remains an unnecessary regulatory threat to the content creation and distribution industries,” House Republicans argue.
A new Air TV set-top box from Dish’s Sling TV combines an ability to stream Sling and other OTT platforms like Netflix with live over-the-air channels. The company revealed the device, possibly by accident, on Tuesday.
The fight to ditch the cable box appears to be over, thanks to Donald Trump.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says the commission is working hard to protect your privacy and allow you to watch pay-TV programming without renting a set-top box.
Independent programmers continue to vent their frustration over FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s refusal to release his revised cable set-top box final rule. They don’t know what’s in it, which they say makes their discussions with FCC officials almost meaningless. “It’s like negotiating against a mime,” said Victor Cerda, an SVP at the independent Spanish-language network Vme, in describing discussions with FCC officials on the secretive proposal.
A collection of 76 progressive groups, including organizations ranging from Public Knowledge to Daily Kos to Consumers Union, have written the FCC’s five commissioners, urging them to move on proposals to regulate leased pay TV set-tops and broadband privacy. The groups also asked the FCC to move forward with its informal investigation of zero-rating policies by ISPs.
On Friday, the commission lifted the sunshine restriction on its set-top-box proceeding, after legislators and various groups asked the agency to allow stakeholders to comment on the proposal. Also, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated an updated proposal to reform the Business Data Service.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) is calling on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to release the FCC’s latest proposal on rules for pay television set-top boxes.
In canceling a scheduled vote Thursday, Chairman Tom Wheeler said commissioners ran out of time to discuss last-minute changes to the proposal, but he stressed that he intends to “get something done” before the end of the year.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s’ proposal to overhaul the market for TV set-top boxes remained on a knife’s edge a day ahead of a scheduled vote by the commission on Thursday.
When the FCC announced a plan this year that would free people from having to rent cable set-top boxes, the cable and television industries balked and lobbied hard to forestall the proposal. But it turns out the biggest threat to the plan, which the commission is expected to vote on Thursday, is a low-profile Democratic commissioner within the agency itself, Jessica Rosenworcel,
A group of more than 60 House Democrats on Thursday said that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the commissioners should launch a formal proceeding where the public — and industry — could comment on the text of Wheeler’s new proposal. to open up the market for television boxes.
The FCC’s newly revised plan to enable consumers to watch pay TV without cable boxes could boost piracy, according to the Association of National Advertisers.
At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Thursday, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said she doesn’t think the agency has the legal authority to pursue a part of its proposal to reform the market for television set-top boxes and cast doubt on whether Chairman Tom Wheeler has the votes to pass the plan.
The FCC is trying to make it easier and cheaper for you to watch TV. But the plan to unleash pay TV service from the set-top box that has been its delivery mechanism for decades has opponents — notably, the Big Cable lobby — raising their fists.
The FCC chairman tells a Senate oversight hearing that the commission “will soon release for discussion and comment transition models to calculate the order and schedule of station relocation efforts” and they will reflect input from broadcasters, wireless companies, tower crews, equipment manufacturers and others.
Seton Motley: “FCC Chairman [Tom Wheeler] wants to end all that pesky free market content creation and explosive growth — and shrink it all back down to one government bureau. He is doing all of this via a pay TV set-top-box power grab. What non-problem is his grab alleged to be “solving?”
Opponents of the FCC’s set-top box market reforms are putting more pressure on Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, seen as the swing vote on the hotly-contested item. In a filing on Friday, a set of programming companies disclosed that they spoke with Rosenworcel last week and said that “any arrangement in which they are required to allow their content to be distributed on terms or conditions to which programmers would not agree would be tantamount to a compulsory copyright license, which the Commission lacks authority to impose.”
The FCC lacks authority for its new plan to enable consumers to stop renting set-top boxes, cable providers and other opponents say. Opponents to the plan, including Comcast, AT&T and the Motion Picture Association of America, are now arguing that the licensing scheme proposed by the commission is illegal.
There’s already a considerable amount of disruption affecting broadcast television, including an auction intended to repurpose the spectrum of what used to be known as the VHF and UHF channels on a TV dial. However, stations need to find some metaphorical bandwidth to dedicate to the set-top box. Regulatory changes, coupled with innovations like voice-activated navigation, have significant potential to further disrupt television’s current business model.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants consumers to be able to say goodbye to their cable set-top boxes. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece published today, Wheeler is proposing a new rule that would require cable and satellite video companies to offer consumers the option to receive their channels through apps that provide streaming video over the internet.
Documents filed late last week suggest the FCC has been selectively previewing a radical new proposal to replace its original set-top box plan, which would have forced Hollywood and pay TV companies to offer their programming and subscriber data free to any new STB manufacturer. Instead, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is now considering the creation of a copyright licensing office within the FCC, replacing complex separate arrangements with device manufacturers with a single contract overseen and possibly written by the commission’s staff.
Policy battles that have been mounting for months are poised to engulf the FCC in the final months of the Obama administration. Thursday marks the deadline for Chairman Tom Wheeler to say whether he will bring any of three major policy proposals to a vote at the commission’s meeting in September. Major corporate players have a stake in all three debates.
The FCC may be plotting a significantly different course on pay-TV set-top boxes than it originally intended, according to several recent agency filings from top content companies.
The U.S. Copyright Office has joined the list of parties expressing concerns with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to loosen the grip cable and satellite TV providers have on the leased set-top box market.
Speaking at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s broader oversight hearing focused on the FCC Tuesday, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler seemed aware he was talking to a committee led by Republicans. “I am following President Reagan’s good advice, ‘trust, but verify,” Wheeler said to the committee regarding a recent pay TV industry counter-proposal to his set-top regulation plan.
FCC staffers have furnished the NCTA and other backers of the ‘Ditch the Box’ proposal with a detailed list of questions about their alternative suggestion for opening the pay-TV ecosystem to third-party devices.
A handful of the world’s top programmers said they support the pay TV industry’s “Ditch the Box” proposal for opening up set-top boxes — however they urged the FCC to ensure that their own apps on a set-top box be given “parity” with pay TV providers’ apps.
The deal is a coup for Netflix, and it will be available for X1 customers later this year. The move is an enormous step, given the long and sometimes contentious history between the two companies against a backdrop of increased consumer usage of internet-delivered video.
Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, a vocal critic of Chairman Tom Wheeler’s set-top box regulation proposal, delivered his most strident support yet for the pay-TV industry’s apps-based proposal.
The FCC is considering changes to Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to break cable companies’ hold on the set-top box market, following a joint counteroffer from cable providers and AT&T Inc., and a nod from their rival Google.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is voicing concerns with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to open up the market for set-top boxes. Both Senate leaders have now raised concerns with Wheeler’s proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote a letter to Wheeler this month saying that it was unnecessary for the FCC to involve itself in an area where there is already innovation.
The FCC’s plan to boost competition in the cable set-top box market may need some changes to shore up enough votes. While Chairman Tom Wheeler and his Democratic majority led a 3-2 vote on the proposal in February, Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is pushing for changes before it hits a final vote. Now that the FCC has received public comments on the plan, “It has become clear the original proposal has real flaws and, as I have suggested before, is too complicated. We need to find another way forward,” Rosenworcel said.