There is no doubt about how drastically things have changed with regards to watching TV shows, sports or even movies. From Netflix to Sling TV, there are now so many streaming services available that some people are foregoing subscribing to cable altogether. There are, however, still millions of people who still pay for packages from the top cable providers. Even lots of folks who have started using more streaming services still rely on their preferred cable provider for some of their television content.
Paying for content is one thing – and you do that whether you get cable, satellite TV or streaming services. However, the cable companies don’t only charge you for the content you watch; they also charge their customers for the equipment that is used to deliver said content. This equipment usually comes in the form of a cable set-top box. Subscribers actually rent these devices, and pay an average yearly cost of about $231. All of those “rental fees” add up to about $20 billion each year for the big cable companies.
This may all change, though, as the FCC is looking at a couple of proposals to eliminate the cable set-top boxes that so many fork out money to pay for. The news of these new proposals should be music to the ears of cable subscribers. However, the cable companies are not keen on potentially losing billions of dollars in box rental fees, so there will be a bit of a battle over these proposals.
The two proposals that the FCC is looking into would both replace traditional cable boxes, but the proposed plans vary considerably. In January, the FCC Chairman proposed that subscribers should be able to scrap the set-top box in favor of a more affordable device created by third party companies. These devices would do the same thing as the cable boxes, but would also allow people to pick up their streaming content services.
As you might have guessed, the cable companies are not exactly falling all over themselves to see this proposal through. They blame the proposal on the huge tech company, Google. Since it is well known that Google is expanding into the cable/broadband Internet market, the cable companies believe that Google would wind up being one of the third-party companies that offers their new device to people. Other companies that may also develop these devices include Apple and Amazon. Comcast, Dish, Time Warner and other cable providers have banded together to start a new lobbying group called the Future of TV Coalition. By way of this group, along with Hollywood studios, the cable industry is in full-on attack mode against the new proposals. The United States Copyright Office has so far agreed with the big cable companies and the original proposal may be losing steam, while the other proposal – which would replace the old cable boxes with proprietary apps – is beginning to gain more ground.
TV Content Delivery Industry is Evolving
Regardless of which proposal winds up being the favored proposal, the fact of the matter is that things are about to change for both cable subscribers and providers. While it is understandable that the cable companies would be upset about the potential loss of so much rental revenue, TV content delivery is a market that is on the cusp of even bigger changes in the future. And if consumers stand a chance at saving over $200 a year because of potential upcoming changes, you can bet that most people will be more than glad to get rid of those cable boxes that they have been forced to pay rental fees on for so many years.