Public Knowledge’s Position
In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress told the FCC to increase competition in video devices—consumer electronics that can display and interact with pay TV content. That competition is still missing.
A consumer should be able to attach any non-harmful device to a cable network and access the programming that they are paying for. After all, when cable was analog you could simply plug your TV directly into cable.
This ability should apply to more than just “cable,” however—today, satellite TV is more popular than ever, and Verizon and AT&T offer subscription TV services that aren’t strictly “cable” (The FCC calls these MVPDs, or “Multichannel Video Programming Distributors”).
In order to achieve this, we advocate interoperability standards and a “video gateway” approach, which would not only allow for more control and more choice for the consumer, but also open up an entirely new market for innovation by reducing barriers to entry for third-party device manufacturers.
A current FCC proposal called “AllVid” would enable the content provided by MVPDs to be available on a home’s IP network and, as such, accessible by any device that can connect to an IP network. Public Knowledge has been a strong supporter of this from the beginning and continues to push for this and other policies that would enable device makers to innovate and compete, create a market that will lower prices, and increase variety in video devices for consumers.
What you can do to help
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For more information
- Read the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry  on AllVid  [pdf]
- Read our reply comments  to the FCC on AllVid
- Read A Two-Step Plan to Get the First Screen Out of Third Place , by PK Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer