This week, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that you can get your cable through devices besides your company’s cable box. The ruling means that instead of having to rent the box from, say, Time Warner or ATT Uverse, you will be able to add that subscription onto your Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV and Roku boxes. You still have to have a cable subscription, but the massive rental fees will be a thing of the past. What does that really mean? Well, it’s going to give cable companies some competition and hopefully reduce the amount of money you have to spend every month. It’s not a done deal yet, but this is the first step in what is likely inevitable as industry standards change and people are cutting the cord in droves. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler tweeted this today:
— Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) February 18, 2016
Cable companies seem to be realizing, finally, that many consumers are fed up with their customer service. Time Warner, which had a less-than-stellar reputation, has even started a campaign to make themselves look better with shorter wait times for customer service calls and two hour windows for house calls. How we get our entertainment has been rapidly changing since the introduction of streaming services. Netflix and Amazon have been producing their own content, people are watching on phones and tablets, and even basic cable channels have apps you can get almost anywhere. Major cable channels like HBO already allow you to watch their shows without a separate cable subscription for a fee.
In a press release, Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey said, “The FCC’s new framework for innovators and companies to develop new technologies that allow consumers to access video programming without having to rent a box from their pay-TV provider is smart, fair and a long time in coming. The FCC’s action will help ensure that consumers are not captive to high video box leasing fees forever.”