Op-eds and Articles

Why is My Cable Box Still So Big?

By / 8.9.2014

Technological change is nothing new, but the speed of innovation in recent years has been unprecedented. It took decades to go from railroads to private cars, or from Kitty Hawk to the Jet Age. Yet we have sprinted from simple cell phones to smartphones carrying the entire Internet – plus apps – for every purpose under the sun in just a few short years. Flat screen TVs were a novelty a decade ago; now you can’t buy anything else.

Maintaining this pace of innovating in the digital age requires flexible rules that keep pace with the latest technology. This is especially true in the video services market, where change has been fast and furious. That’s why Congress should act to repeal an expensive and innovation-restricting requirement on the design of set top cable boxes.

Currently the FCC mandates that each cable box—the electronics in your home that links your TV with your cable provider—use a particular type of technology known as a “CableCARD” that contains the security mechanisms needed to receive programming. The FCC’s rule, formally known as the “integration ban,” requires that these security functions cannot be hard-wired or otherwise integrated within the rest of the box.

Continue reading at the New Jersey Star-Ledger.