The FCC’s got a proposal in the works right now that Comcast doesn’t like. This is not a shock; Comcast has generally not liked any headlining proposals from the FCC in recent years. Some of the cable giant’s complaints are undoubtedly just sound and noise, signifying nothing other than “we like profit, don’t screw with our thing.” But maybe some of its technological complaints have merit.
At long last, Comcast has finally realized what consumers have known for years: Netflix — and its increasing focus on original series, not the cable and broadcast library — isn’t competition. It’s complementary. And so two of the biggest companies in media are about to lay down their metaphorical arms and start working together.
When the FCC voted in February to consider new rules for your cable box, that kicked off a multi-month cycle of public comments, where anyone and everyone can have their say. The deadline for the first round struck at midnight Friday, which means most of the comments are just rolling onto the internet for all and sundry to have a look at.
Yesterday, only weeks after the FCC voted to draft rules that would require pay-TV companies to open up the set-top box market to competitors, Comcast announced a deal with Samsung that will allow owners of certain TVs to access their cable TV without the need to pay for a cable box every month. The industry and its supporters are heralding the news as a clear demonstration that the FCC should just shut up and stop all its regulating, but the reports of the set-top box’s death are greatly exaggerated. [More]
The Comcast-connected faux grassroots group created to protect the cable industry’s $20 billion annual revenue stream of set-top box rental fees is now claiming that it caught FCC Chair Tom Wheeler in a real “gotcha” moment, proving that there is indeed no need for competition on these devices. But either this group has no idea what it’s talking about, or it thinks the American consumer is incredibly gullible. [More]
U.S. pay-TV companies rake in an estimated $20 billion a year in rental/lease fees for set-top boxes, but the FCC’s recent decision to draft rules to increase competition in the set-top box market could put that dependable revenue stream at risk. But one analyst says that if cable companies lose money from competing devices, they’ll just make up for it by charging more for TV. [More]
With the FCC prepping to vote on new rules that aim to break up cable companies’ monopolies on set-top boxes, the pay-TV industry is fighting back with an astroturfing campaign that tries to make the case that having more choices in set-top boxes will somehow harm diversity in TV programming. [More]
We regularly hear from readers that their cable company — often Comcast — is charging them rental fees for equipment they either never owned or have already returned. A group of six U.S. lawmakers are calling on the FCC to look into this problem of consumers who face fees for phantom modems and other devices. [More]
Earlier this week, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler proposed new rules intended to increase competition in the pay-TV set-top box market. Rather than paying hundreds of dollars a year to your cable company for a device you can’t get anywhere else, the idea is that you would be able to buy your own box and save money in the long run. Amazing, Comcast — which stands to potentially lose billions of dollars if this happens — is crying foul. [More]
While the cable industry hasn’t fessed up to how much it makes leasing set-top boxes to their customers, in July, lawmakers crunched some numbers and found that it could be a $20 billion industry, with consumers paying up to $232 every year on that equipment. Two advocacy groups are now asking the Federal Communications Commission to begin a rulemaking proceeding to reform the video set-top box market, saying cable and pay-TV companies are overcharging consumers by $6 billion to $14 billion annually. [More]
Should you be forced to be required to pay your cable company extra money for a set-top box in order to get cable TV service you’re already paying for? According to a federal jury in Oklahoma, which recently returned a $6.31 million verdict against Cox Communications, the answer is no. [More]
The biggest energy hog in your house is probably sitting right under your TV. That little ol’ set-top box could be using up more electricity in your house than your refrigerator or central air conditioning, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Aaron couldn’t get the HDMI port of his Time Warner Cable DVR box to work. When he went to customer service with the problem, he says the rep told him TWC provides HDMI as an option to customers but does not support it.