Friday, May 6, 2016

The Cable Box

As TechDirt notes:

Congress is simply fed up with the FCC's pesky new habit of standing up to giant cable and broadband companies. Congress was outraged when the FCC announced it wanted to stop states from letting large ISPs write horrible, protectionist state laws. Congress was outraged when the FCC announced it wanted to pass actual, functioning net neutrality rules. Congress was even outraged when the FCC decided to raise the standard definition of broadband to 25 Mbps, since it only served to highlight a lack of competition for next-generation broadband service. 

They continue:

A new letter from sixty Congressmen and women (pdf) reads as if it was written by a cable industry lobbyist (because it probably was), deriding the FCC for daring to interrupt the cable industry's glorious history of innovation with a pesky quest for better, cheaper, consumer-facing hardware:
"The Federal Communications Commission's recently proposed rules on the Competitive Availability of Navigation Devices, if adopted, will jeopardize the incredible evolution of video distribution services enabled by generally reasonable regulation. Imposing new, onerous regulations on pay-TV providers would produce very few benefits for consumers, while potentially harming the viability of these providers. The particular obligations being considered by the FCC are all the more troubling because they would mandate compliance with technical standards that do not yet exist, injecting even greater uncertainty into the marketplace.
How horrible! Except it's not true. The FCC's proposal as it currently stands (pdf) says that cable providers can use any technology they see fit, and any copy protection they'd like, to ensure their content can be delivered to third-party hardware under the FCC's rules. 

The Cable Box and Cable modems are antiquated boat anchors that the consumer pays extortionist rates for in my opinion! Most homes have vacuum cleaners that are newer than cable boxes. One wonders if Congress is truly on payrolls. Perhaps the Trump backlash is reflective of the electorate becoming aware of these folks and their persistent attempts to pay service to those lobbyists and companies that fund their campaigns while these people extract money from the poor taxpayer. Often the arrogance of the "elected" officials is amazing. The cable box issue is one of the most powerful symptoms of this in practise. I could buy a cable model from Amazon for just a bit more than $50 retail.  But I am paying $10 per month for the past fifteen years! That is a total of $1,800 for a $50 box! Do these Congress folks have the slightest clue.

Then go to the cable box itself. It uses 1980s technology to operate. I know because I was in Cable then. It is truly a boat anchor. My Amazon unit has voice control etc and costs peanuts and does infinitely more.

One should read the letter from Congress. In fact one should be seriously concerned if your Congress person signed it, you should ask just what they are doing. The system should be open, namely open to vendors, like even wireless! Yikes, Verizon is more open that the Cable folks!