The CEA, TiVo and Public Knowledge continue to hammer the FCC, due to the government agency’s bungled Charter waiver, and appeal to the body that “its regulations be reinstated.” Some choice quotes:
By misreading the law, the FCC took away your ability to buy alternative set-top boxes like Tivo and Smart TVs. We think that’s wrong. (Public Knowledge)
The Bureau’s Order, like the Charter Request, deals in assumptions and hopes rather than in facts. The Commission cannot let stand this nullification of law and regulation, without process or public comment. (CEA)
By vacating these rules, the Court created an unhealthy amount of uncertainty in the industry — uncertainty that harms innovation and competition as well as settled consumer expectations. (TiVo)
Due to a variety of factors we won’t rehash, beyond TiVo, CableCARD and retail cable set-top boxes have never really taken off. And even TiVo’s market penetration is suspect. I reached out to the NCTA and was informed there are about 600,000 CableCARDs currently deployed (plus Verizon FiOS). So that’d include TiVo hardware, Windows Media Center, and any legacy smart TVs that support the tech. It also encompasses households with multiple cards, as the TiVo Series 3 requires, and to serve folks with multiple devices — meaning there’s something less than 600k active CableCARD homes. Now, that’s not necessarily a number to scoff at. But it pales in comparison to tens of millions pay TV subscribers and burdens cable with additional infrastructure and support costs – including 40 million+ set-tops they themselves provide with CableCARDs.
We rarely shed tears for big cable and have been TiVo proponents for many years, yet it’s an interesting exercise to imagine a post-CableCARD era where Section 629 is met by iPad, Roku, Xbox, and Apple TV. Discuss.