FCC Hears Controversial Proposal on the Future of the Cable Box

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A new proposal put forward to the FCC this week focuses on the future of OTT devices and whether a more open platform that allows for cross-channel searching, as opposed to proprietary individual apps, would be more beneficial.

As The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner explains, "At the moment, there are two big proposals on the table to replace the expensive, rarely used security protocols that were established in the mid-90s when Congress allowed companies like TiVo to offer competing devices to standard cable boxes. One is a hands-off approach favored by the cable industry and Hollywood studios. It would basically allow content operators to provide their own apps and user interfaces. Advocates for this proposal believe it will be flexible enough to accommodate different platforms...Instead, the second approach — called alternatively the 'virtual head-end' proposal or the 'competitive navigation' proposal — aims to force programming into a much simpler format so that the devices can construct varying user interfaces and implement features like wider searching of content upon discretion."

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