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Cable-Satellite Group Slams Wheeler's Set-Top Plan

In direct response to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal Wednesday to spur traditional and online video access device competition, the newly created Future of TV Coalition said it was unnecessary and would lead to an "endless muddle of unanswered questions."

The coalition, which launched at about the same time the FCC was unveiling the proposal includes the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, American Cable Association and the Motion Picture Association of America.

"This is a solution in search of a problem. Consumers can already access pay-TV programming right alongside streaming content on an ever-expanding universe of consumer-owned devices, from smart TVs, game consoles and streaming devices to laptops, tablets, and smartphones," the coalition said in a statement. "This app-driven innovation is already happening — and it doesn’t require a government mandate that would increase consumer costs, strip viewers of privacy protections, and let third party device makers ignore the terms of carriage agreements between programmers and distributors."

"The FCC proposal, as best anyone can understand it, still strips out all the tools that are used to honor license agreements, would increase consumer costs by mandating yet a second box inside the home and thus ignores the trends away from in-home boxes and devices, eliminates security protections, and provides no reassurance on privacy rights. Kicking the can down the road and simply saying that some standards setting body may address these issues, fully or partially, in the future, is hardly a guarantee for consumers, creators and distributors. Rather than moving us to a second box and an endless muddle of unanswered questions, the FCC should be moving all of us towards an app-based future that consumers are embracing.”