President Obama has created a wave of mixed feeling in the world of cable companies and cable users as he announced his support for the ‘Unlock the Box’ initiative. In February, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) had voted for the initiative that aims at loosening the grip of cable companies on the set top boxes that their users get to use. President Obama support for the users who would like to have greater control on the ways in which they access their favorite TV channels is being welcomed by the users.
Reaction of companies in the TV market
Reportedly, the cable companies are not enjoying such a setback. At this time, the cable companies are able to make an average of $231 per household in the form of lease fees which the consumers pay for the set top boxes that are required, so that they can access cable television. Leaders of the cable industry found this to be unwanted and many lashed out against President Obama’s actions. They found the president’s support for ‘Unlock the Box’ was based on his support for companies like Google.
On the other hand, companies who have occupied a smaller portion of the TV industry are welcoming this proposal because they will get the chance to establish a broader foothold once there are no limitations to the set top box that the users must use. Companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Roku are among the supporters of this initiative because they will get the chance to reach out to more customers who were by now bound to using a specific set top box for fulfilling their cable needs.
With technology on the rise, users strongly feel the need for better set top boxes that can offer more than the usual experience provided by the Cable TV Set Top Boxes. Tech companies have continuously endeavored to explore the market of Cable TV, but with policies that bound the customers to the use of specific set top boxes, they remained limited to a smaller section of the society who leaned on technology more than the scaffolding grips of cable TV. With his most recent announcement, President Obama has been able to open these paths for tech companies who can now innovate even more as they begin to cater to a larger audience.
Once this is put into effect, it can entail a huge shift of power from massive cable companies who have tried to monopolize the cable industry to tech companies who intend to offer a lot more than the cable experience to their users. It also increases competition in the market and lifts limitations in the user experience. With a move like this, President Obama intends to do away with the stereotypical ways in which companies practice their reach of power over their users.
Reaction of the Users
There is hardly a user who has reason to be sad about such a development. With a wider range of set top boxes to choose from and the fact they wouldn’t be tied down to lease amounts that they must pay for using a set top box, this is what users have wanted for a long period of time. They no longer have to deal with the woes of problematic set top boxes that they want to do away with.
Users will get the chance to explore more options and look for the things that suit their needs the most before they choose a set top box for themselves. No more dealing with the forceful use of set top boxes provided by the cable companies. They now have the freedom of choice. While those who love what they are using can continue, those who would want something else, can go buy a set top box for themselves without worrying about how your cable will work with it.
President Obama’s Plans
The FCC proposal was initiated in February starting a 60 day period for comments that would have ended this week. The President felt that his involvement was important in this case because of the number of households that are affected by the changes. President Obama has also issued an executive order which gives federal agencies the chance to point out any other areas in which competition can give way to innovation. It does not have to be limited to Cable TV.
President Obama has been a supporter of net neutrality and he was responsible for signing the legislation to unlock phones, empowering phone users to switch users without losing their devices. President Obama has always promoted healthy competition. It has been noted that the absence of competition can lead to a decline in the level of services provided by companies who usually monopolize a market or an industry. At this time the cable industry is preparing for a pivotal change that will affect a lot of companies. While some are going to like the repercussions of this executive order, others may not but those who gain the most from it are the users who get the power of choice – a power that they have long yearned for.