Tech

FCC Changes Its Initial Cable Box Plan In Favor Of Pushing Cable Companies Develop New Apps

By Victor Thomson , Sep 09, 2016 03:53 AM EDT

The Federal Communications Commission is making important changes to its initial cable box plan.

FCC's New Plan

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the nation's top television regulator, is preparing a major campaign this week to win support for a compromise version of its original plan. The FCC previously proposed a plan to open up the market for television set-top boxes. The new compromise plan will require that cable companies provide applications that make feeds available to other device makers.

According to The Verge, the new variant of the plan requires large cable TV provider companies to develop applications that offer access to all of their programming, which includes on-demand and live content. The apps will become available on all platforms, including Windows, Android, iOS and Roku. The requirements make acceptable both web and native apps.

Universal searches will include catalogs of cable TV provider companies. This measure would allow an Apple TV, for example, to search through a provider's on-demand and programming right alongside Netflix, providing results for both at once to the user.

One major goal of the original proposal will still be accomplished by the updated plan. At present, on top of a cable service fee consumers have to pay a monthly fee for cable box rentals. With the implementation of the updated plan, consumers would be free of the need to rent a cable box.

The app model will help to move things forward and increase innovation around TV, as well as pushing the inclusion of TV content on other platforms. Aside of just streaming boxes, apps will be also required on game consoles, tablets and smartphones.

With this proposal, tech companies get much less control. Since the interface will largely stays under control of the cable companies, it is not clear yet how much interested will be companies such as Roku, Google and Apple to develop apps that create interesting new ways of finding and watching TV.

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