The FCC wants to see Internet video on your TV. And a lot more.
The commission has issued a call for comments on how to make set-top boxes of the future integrate traditional cable/TV programming and the Internet.
The FCC notes that myriad devices exist for accessing Internet video, yet almost none of them also allow for access of offerings from multichannel video programming distributors (cablers, satellite TV, etc.). The goal, apparently, is to encourage development of network-agnostic television/broadband set-top boxes that are consumer friendly.
Put simply, the FCC seeks info on how to develop “plug and play” hardware capable of bringing in all forms of video from all types of providers. Sick of your local cable monopoly? Buy your programming from another state. Take that, cable guys.
“The consumer will be king,” said the senior counselor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “You’ll be able to get your own set-top box that does all the whiz-bang things you want it to do, and you’ll be in control,” Colin Crowell told the Los Angeles Times.
The FCC’s Dec. 3 document said: “As the popularity of (Internet) delivery of video continues to increase, we believe that new applications will emerge, Internet use will increase, consumers will have more viewing options, and more viewers will want to access Internet content on their televisions.”
“The convergence of the television and content delivered by (the Internet) makes this a critical time to promote innovation in set-top devices that could support the Commission’s effort to drive broadband adoption and utilization.”
The goal also is to achieve near-universal access to the Internet. The FCC points out that while “76 percent of U.S. households have personal computers, 99 percent have television sets.” That dovetails with the National Broadband Plan.
Have some tips for your media watchdogs? Check out the FCC video document (PDF).
Our advice? Think really, really big pipes.