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FCC Forces Cable Companies to Support HD Streaming on Network Devices

by December 10, 2012
FCC Forces Cable Companies HD Streaming on Network Devices

FCC Forces Cable Companies HD Streaming on Network Devices

Why is it that nobody seems to like their cable company? Is it the 6 year old cable boxes that freeze up when they are too full? Capping download limits or gating download speeds? Charging extra for every little service? Or do we just think cable TV is too expensive? Sometimes I feel that we are too critical of cable companies, but the FCC surely doesn’t feel that way because they are forcing all cable companies to support streaming HD content from a cable box to network devices by 2014.

What does this actually mean? It means that you will be able to watch your shows, live and recorded, on any device on your home network. Additionally, cable companies are required to allow you to record HD content on any device in your home.

We love that the FCC is stepping in because cable companies are so resilient to change. Although cable companies might protest this mandate, we think it will be a good move for everyone. Let’s face it, streaming content through services like Hulu and Netflix is cheap and easy. The only current catch with these services is that the lineup isn’t as big as with cable and there is a dearth of live content.

Forcing the cable companies to provide networkable cable boxes makes cable relevant again. Now a cable box can act as a media distribution point for your whole home. Cable companies should open their eyes and realize the world is moving forward, and if they want to stay relevant they need to move with it. So, looking forward we pose this question, if a cable box will be able to stream live shows to any device on a network, why not include internet apps in the cable box? Instead of making people buy other internet streaming devices why not make the cable box a hub for all internet and cable programming? We aren’t looking that far forward here, DirecTV has already realized this and is starting to support some streaming apps.

The generation that grew up paying for cable TV may put up with the lack of advancement in the cable TV world, but the upcoming generation will not. Kids and Teens are used to streaming content and are going to choose whatever delivery method for their shows is the cheapest and most convenient. If cable companies want to continue offering anything other than internet they are going to need to embrace change.

The official date that cable companies need to support these new features is June 2nd 2014, but smaller cable companies (less than 400,000 subscribers) will have an extra few months. The question remains, are they going to charge extra to utilize the streaming features? We hope they can start looking to the future and make wise decisions before the government makes the decisions for them.

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About the author:

Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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Recent Forum Posts:

monkish54 posts on December 11, 2012 05:53
j_garcia, post: 931749
I don't have cable. I stream 80% of everything I watch.

IMO, the only reason the cable companies are resisting is because they will have to have a new device that can do this or an add on that does it from the existing boxes. Not simply a firmware update on existing equipment, so it makes sense they would be less inclined to do it. It isn't like it is a bad thing for them though.

I dumped cable. I subscribe to HBO so I can use “GO” but that's it. I use Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO GO for my entertainment.
robindevo posts on December 11, 2012 01:25
I can already stream most premium content on all of my devices in HD.
j_garcia posts on December 10, 2012 13:32
I don't have cable. I stream 80% of everything I watch.

IMO, the only reason the cable companies are resisting is because they will have to have a new device that can do this or an add on that does it from the existing boxes. Not simply a firmware update on existing equipment, so it makes sense they would be less inclined to do it. It isn't like it is a bad thing for them though.
3db posts on December 10, 2012 12:01
gmichael, post: 931671
That's great! But I do feel a rate increase on the way.

+1 with that comment.
brianedm posts on December 10, 2012 11:34
I can already stream most premium content on all of my devices in HD. Not everything, but AMC, hbo, and movie central are all available to me, and that's most of what I watch. Canada for the win!
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