The Federal Government Might Help Lower Your Cable Bill

What's Hot

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

How a Mexican Tariff Will Boost the Cost of 6 Common PurchasesFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

How to Protect Yourself From the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone ScamFamily

Report: Walmart to Begin Selling CarsCars

Is Your TV Tracking You? Here’s How to Tell — and Prevent ItAround The House

Trump Scraps FHA Rate Cut — What Does It Mean for You?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

11 Staging Tips to Help You Get Top Dollar When Selling Your HomeAround The House

8 Tuition-Free U.S. CollegesCollege

10 Overlooked Expenses That Ruin Your BudgetFamily

4 Car Insurers That Might Raise Rates Even When the Accident Wasn’t Your FaultCars

How to Invest If Trump Kills the ‘Fiduciary Rule’Grow

20 Simple Hacks to Make Your Stuff Last LongerAround The House

12 Surprising Ways to Wreck Your Credit ScoreBorrow

The FCC has taken a big step toward increasing options for pay-TV customers who rent set-top boxes.

The federal government has taken a big step toward increasing options for pay-TV customers who rent set-top boxes.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to approve an “unlock the box” proposal to establish rules that would pave the way for alternatives to renting set-top boxes from cable or satellite TV providers.

The move is intended to spur innovative devices and software “to compete with the set-top boxes that a majority of consumers lease from pay-TV providers today,” the FCC explains in a news release issued Thursday. “Lack of competition has meant few choices and high prices for consumers.”

For example, pay-TV subscribers with alternative devices like Apple TV or TiVo might be able to choose to access pay-TV signals via those alternative devices instead of via a rented set-top box.

According to the FCC:

  • 99 percent of pay-TV subscribers have limited choices and lease set-top boxes from their cable or satellite providers.
  • The average American household pays $231 per year in set-top box rental fees.
  • American consumers collectively spend $20 billion per year to lease set-top boxes.
  • Since 1994, the cost of set-top boxes has increased by 185 percent, while the cost of computers, TVs and mobile phones has decreased by 90 percent.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says in a Bloomberg Business report:

“Consumers deserve a break and a choice. The issue is whether you are forced to rent that box every month, after month, after month.”

Thursday’s vote kicks off a months-long period during which the FCC will take public comments on setting standards for competing devices and software, Bloomberg reports.

Pay-TV providers are already speaking out against the FCC’s vote, however.

A Comcast blog post published Thursday, for example, describes the FCC’s proposal as “an unbalanced notice seemingly predestined to lead to a new, anti-consumer government technology mandate on video set-top boxes.”

What’s your take? Do you consider the FCC’s proposal pro- or anti-consumer? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 7 Sly Ways to Save Money at Target

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,852 more deals!