Cable Boxes – The Provided Choice

Comcast Cable Box
One of many cable boxes Comcast charges for

If you wanted to watch Netflix what would you use? A computer? A phone? A Tablet, Xbox, PlayStation, or Roku? There are a lot of options to choose from for just watching one service. What about if you wanted to watch cable TV? Well you would just use your cable box that the cable company gives you and charges you monthly for. This adds up to over $230 per year, and if you have multiple TVs prepare to pay for multiple boxes.

Some cable/satellite companies do have apps you can use on wireless devices, but they are limited and usually not very reliable. The FCC aims to change this with a proposal that cable/satellite companies must update their services so that 3rd parties can offer viewing solutions. The main hangup though, is the cable/satellite companies don’t want to.

Comcast addresses the “unfair” proposal saying it targets them and satellite providers.  Mark Hess says,  “The proposal would require traditional TV distributors like satellite and cable providers – but not other video distributors – to re-architect their networks and develop an undefined new piece of customer equipment just so device companies can take apart the video service and selectively reassemble it.”

What they seem to not say about other video distributors (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc) is that you don’t need to pay for or rent a device to watch them. All you have to do is use your current internet connected device to watch them with an app or website. You don’t need a supplied specific dedicated device to watch them.

Comcast also addresses an earlier attempt to provide fair practices with the use of Cable Cards. Really they were only usable with PCs and a few other specialized devices and the TV providers made sure they were difficult and cumbersome to use.

The FCC simply wants to make you, the consumer, have the option of either using your TV providers cable box, or purchasing your own from Best Buy, Amazon, or any other retailer. It would be the same as your cable modem for internet. You can either use the one provided for you, or buy your own and connect it yourself. It’s stupid that this isn’t an option for cable boxes… yet.

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