WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) today highlighted how today's Xfinity TV Partner Program announcement demonstrates the folly of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) new proposal to regulate set-top cable boxes.
“Obama's FCC seeks to impose a 1990s-vintage, one-size-fits-all mandate to make cable TV set-top boxes artificially compatible with third-party devices," said Timothy Lee, CFIF's Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs. "As we have detailed, the proposed regulation constitutes crony capitalism in its worst form, it poses a threat to consumer privacy, it undermines the creative community and it jeopardizes intellectual property protections by potentially facilitating piracy. It also constitutes an anachronism in that it freezes in place an outdated set-top box model that is already being left behind by technological advance and private sector innovation. Cable companies and other entertainment industry players are already abandoning traditional cable boxes in favor of devices owned and maintained by individual consumers as they choose," Lee added.
Today's announcement of the new joint Xfinity Partner Program between Comcast, Samsung and Roku illustrates that reality. Under the new partnership, consumers can access their cable subscription via a simple app, without the need for a set-top box at all. Accordingly, it will allow access to live, on-demand, cloud, DVR and other televised content on smart TVs and other IP-enabled technology.
"This shows that the video entertainment and app markets continue to evolve alongside consumer demand, rendering the FCC's set-top box proposal obsolete before it can even be imposed," Lee said. "The new regulation would disrupt market innovation of this sort. The marketplace is working, and this latest FCC 'solution' to a non-existent problem will only create more problems. Congressional leaders, the innovation community, consumer groups and everyday American consumers should stand together and oppose this latest FCC overreach."
Read CFIF's full commentary on the import of today's announcement here.