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Downingtown, PA
reply to Jason Levine

Re: Possible IP TV First Step

said by Jason Levine:

I wasn't panning this move. I was just expressing a measure of doubt about the market shakeup given that the cable companies have their own little "local monopolies" setup now. They are comfortable in this arrangement and will need a push to do away with that. I do think that, if they do take the step, it will be good for everyone involved.

My point is - they have no choice. The FCC is mandating it. Even as a condition for giving the cable companies something they've long asked for. They approved the ability of cable companies to now encrypt local channels. But as a condition for doing that, the FCC is requiring that these cable companies offer up an over-the-top IP solution (think residential gateway) to basic subscribers, for free, for at least 2 years.

I think this is the type of regulation that makes sense, to be honest. When the government tries to force a standard on industry you end up with the electric car. When they take a major innovation that's being driven by the industry and turning that around and using that as a standard, you end up with the hybrid engine. Same thing here. When the FCC first directed cable companies to decouple the security from their boxes, we ended up with the cable card. Yes, it was a product that the cable industry itself developed, but under duress by the FCC, and they did so without fully supporting the product. As a result, you ended up with something that, apart from TiVo, very few manufacturers actually use (try to find a TV that accepts a cable card, some time).

These cable companies were all moving toward these in-home streaming set-ups anyway. The FCC (smartly, I think) jumped on that, and decided to make THAT the standard for getting past the set top box. Which has been a long-stated goal of their's. They're trying to create a market for third party boxes very much like what they did for phones many years ago - I still remember when, if you wanted to get a phone, you could only get them from the phone company - you had to lease them, and they were attrotiously expensive as a result. You couldn't do your own connections, either. Want to move that phone? Gotta call the phone company to do it... who will have no issue charging you for the pleasure of having to wait for them to come out. Encryption has been the only real stumbling block with the FCC doing the same thing with the cable box. This set up is a way around it.


Pawleys Island, SC

You have it all wrong. TWC is doing this because it is another way to keep you locked into a subscription. They care more about the cable cutters than pleasing the FCC before they absolutely have to.
Gary in South Carolina --For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.