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FCC May Pry Open the Cable Set-Top Box 222

awyeah writes "The NY Times reports that the FCC is finally looking into the practice of cable companies requiring use of their set-top boxes to access their digital cable and video on-demand services. The inquiry (PDF) states: 'Consumers can access the Internet using a variety of delivery methods (e.g., wireless, DSL, fiber optics, broadband over powerlines, satellite, and cable) on myriad devices made by hundreds of manufacturers; yet we know of no device available at retail that can access all of an MVPD's services across that MVPD's entire footprint.' Yes, there are a few devices out there — for example CableCARD-enabled TVs, and CableCARD/Tuning Adapter-enabled TiVos and Windows Media Center PCs, but only the cable companies' set-tops can access services other than broadcast TV, such as video-on-demand and pay-per-view. Is it finally time to open these devices and embrace actual standards and competition?" Lauren Weinstein has a cautionary blog post about the world we may be entering if this FCC initiative comes to fruition, which concludes: "I have difficulty seeing how this universe can be made to function effectively in the absence of some sort of regulatory regime to ensure transparency and fairness in situations where the Internet access providers themselves are providing their own content that directly competes with content from the external Internet."
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FCC May Pry Open the Cable Set-Top Box

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  • by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) <> on Monday December 07, 2009 @08:30PM (#30359900) Journal

    Television? How 20th century of you!

    I don't need a General Electric/Hughes Defense/etc. controlled media stream, blowing out chunks of Pravda and horrible, pseudo-culture of witless sarcasm and endless cravings. The high points of the medium, with a few minor exceptions, appear as such, owing to comparisons with the subterranean recesses which characterize the rest of that blighted tube.

    Frankly, I can wash my own brain, thank you very much!

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @08:38PM (#30359946) Homepage Journal

    Until digital cable TV works, I won't be paying for it.

    If the FCC "forces" them to work with my HDHomeRun, I'll likely become a monthly-paying sap. I think it's funny, though, that they won't choose the more profitable (for them!) course on their own.

    I get this image of the FCC holding a gun to Comcast's head, saying, "have customers, collect revenue, stop screwing over your stockholders," and a Comcast lobbyist saying, "No, we don't want money! Please, nooo!! Customers, ick!! The bastards pay us every damn month and we don't know what to do with the money, so please, please don't force us to supply a service that people will be willing to pay for. We had to buy NBC with our excess cash, and if you make us more profitable, we'll have so much money that we'll be choking on it. For the accountants' sake, at least, have mercy!" So far, FCC has considered this to be a good argument.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @09:45PM (#30360446)

    ClearQAM would be fine, if the sons of bitches would stop moving the damn channels around.

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye