Unlocking Pandora's Set-Top Box: The FCC Flirts with Disaster, Again
17 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 15, 2016
In February, the FCC approved a plan to require Pay TV providers to adopt new technical standards for set-top boxes, one that would open multiple “Information Flows,” including licensed programming and the viewing habits of consumers, to unregulated third parties.
While the Commission’s stated goal is to lower the cost of set-top box rental fees for consumers, the likely outcome of the plan will be to raise prices for all consumers, including the millions who never had a box or who long ago cut the cord.
The FCC’s effort to “unlock the box,” will, like the mythological Pandora, unintentionally release new demons into the marketplace — demons over which it will be hard, if not impossible, to regain control.
This Policy Paper reviews the FCC’s newest video navigation proposal in the context of its long history of attempts to reshape the Pay TV market through technical mandates that either failed or were abandoned by the agency after years of neglect.
Keywords: FCC, set-top box, video navigation, regulatory, AllVid, DSTAC, CableCARD
JEL Classification: D40, K23, L14, L22, L43, L51, L86, L96, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation