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Rep. Hoyer to Wheeler: Set-Top Compromise Needed

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is looking to whip the FCC's set-top box proposal into shape by finding some common ground between unlocking and ditching the box.

In a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Hoyer said a worthwhile goal would be retiring the "clunky and costly set-top box."

He said Wheeler's "unlock the box proposal" was commendable for ambitious goals but cited the concerns, including from Congress, about its practicality and unintended consequences. Wheeler's proposal is to make MVPD's set-top content and data available to third party navigation device providers.

Hoyer called MVPD's app-centric "ditch the box" proposal a constructive approach.

He also pointed to the "grave risks" of piracy or of eroding consumer's right to privacy. Both are issues programmers and MVPDs have been raising about the FCC proposal.

Hoyer said that "some level of openness" should be required to allow for universal search but not at the expense of consumer privacy. He also said rules should be "flexible and dynamic."

Wheeler last week said he was glad stakeholders were talking about his proposal but suggested they had to be dragged to the table and indicated he still had issues with "ditch the box" and lots of questions that still needed answers.