FCC Chariman Tom Wheeler just followed through on a congressional order to outline new rules for set-top boxes.
Currently, Americans spend approximately $20 billion a year on fees for these box rentals. The majority of that cash is pure profit for the cable companies and an annual loss of $231 for each household forced to rent a box.
If you’re keeping score, the TiVo Bolt is a much more feature-rich option and it’s nearly the same price as a set-top box rental. Roku and AppleTV are both about half the cost.
Options are good for consumers, but cable monopolies all but ensure that the typical household is renting a set-top box from the cable company. Why? Because they’re forced to.
The proposal outlines a desire to “create a framework for providing innovators, device manufacturers and developers” a platform to work on.
In essence, the FCC wants the cable companies to allow integration from third-party developers to extend the functionality of these boxes, as well as ensuring seamless integration with mobile devices and the ability to surface more content from independent creators.
The FCC will vote on the plan on February 18.