Advanced Television

FCC consults on how STBs can boost Internet viewing

December 7, 2009

The FCC has released another request for information for its national broadband plan, this one focused on how set-top boxes could help spur the viewing of video over the Internet. The commission pointed out that while only 76% of households have personal computers, 99% have TV sets. “The convergence of the television and content delivered by IP 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 FCC says it is time for a set-top that works across all delivery platforms, able to deliver content from both MVPD’s and the Internet to those TV sets.

The FCC wants to know, specifically, what technological limits there are on boxes that access video content in all forms, or what it calls a “true plug-and-play” device that is “network agnostic.” It also wants to know whether a retail market for such devices might achieve a competitive market in navigation devices. It cites what it calls the “limited success” of developing that market via its mandate of separating the channel-surfing and security functions of the boxes.

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