Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has introduced a new proposal that could break you free from your cable box. Though cable companies mostly control how TV is delivered to their customers, Wheeler's proposal, if it passes, would allow tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, to bring new technologies to cable TV. This could include allowing customers to ditch their cable box for hardware like an Xbox One, or new software experiences to let you watch the TV you pay for on any device in your home.
This week, I am sharing a proposal with my colleagues to tear down the barriers that currently prevent innovators from developing new ways for consumers to access and enjoy their favorite shows and movies on their terms. The new rules would create a framework for providing device manufacturers, software developers and others the information they need to introduce innovative new technologies, while at the same time maintaining strong security, copyright and consumer protections.
Wheeler stresses that this proposal doesn't mandate changes to how cable TV is packaged and sold to customers, nor will customers need to get a new set-top box if they don't want it. The goal is to open up the cable box market to new innovation, and bring the modern market more in line with rules established by Congress and the FCC 20 years ago, which mandates customers be able to choose their equipment.
The proposal will need to pass a vote of the full Commission, which has not yet been set. It has already received statements of opposition from every major cable TV provider.