Obama Administration V/S The Cable Industry Round 1: Cable Boxes

President Barack ObamaIn a move that’s a long time coming, the Obama administration has decided to take on the cable industry regarding it’s unnecessary control over cable boxes.

Most cable TV subscribers lease their cables boxes, and have no choice in this matter, it’s either lease the box or have no channels outside the 60 or so channels your television’s digital receiver can pickup.  This leads to an exorbitant amount of profit made for cable companies each year; costing each cable TV subscriber and estimated $231.00 a year.  Most cable boxes are completely paid for in less than the first year of your subscription. This amount has tripled since 1994, even thou the price of consumer electronics and computers have dropped sharply in price over the last couple decades (and lets face it, cable boxes are not anywhere near top of the line equipment).  This is mostly due to a lack on competition.  In many locations, especially rural areas, you have one cable company to choose from, the only real competition is satellite dish (which can have many downfalls) or cutting the cord completely and going digital.  However, cutting the cord is not always an option, as many American’s still have no access to broadband in their locations.

An group consisting of cable companies is stating the FCC’s proposal will decrease security, have privacy issues, and end up leading to higher prices.  The group is also quick to note consumers enjoy their services on other apps and devices already.  Which begs the question, if consumers are already watching cable content on other devices, with no security or privacy concerns, how will letting consumers purchase their own cable box increase these concerns,  not to mention increase prices.

Friday, President Obama will be issuing an executive order to federal agencies to explore promotion of competition.  The agencies will have 60 days to report their findings to the White House.  The Obama Administration is calling the Cable box issue a “Mascot” for the larger issue.