Advanced Television

Future of TV Coalition: ‘Wheeler’s STB gaffe’

March 23, 2016

By Colin Mann

The Future of TV Coalition – a diverse group of US programmers, content creators, civic groups and television providers formed to celebrate and promote the thriving innovation that is revolutionising the video viewing experience – has suggested that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made a serious error in comments made before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, suggesting that his argument that a sweeping new FCC mandate is necessary to create competition in the marketplace for video navigation devices is misplaced, with his comments contradictory.

In a Statement, Wheeler said: “The interesting thing is that there are today the equivalent of competitive set top boxes available in the market — for instance, Google Chrome[cast]. A lot of things we hear about how this is Google’s big plan to take over cable TV – malarkey. Google Chrome[cast], which attaches into the port in your TV [and] allows you to pull things off of the web, does not violate copyright, does not overlay commercials, does not do all of the horrible things everybody says a set-top box like that would do.”

The Coalition suggested that if the classic Washington definition of a ‘gaffe’ is to accidentally tell the truth, Chairman Wheeler’s comments at the hearing are a whopper. “He admitted, plainly and clearly, that app-powered devices like Chromecast and Roku offer consumers an alternative to traditional set-top boxes and are readily available in the marketplace. Which begs the question — why is the Chairman so desperate to solve a problem that he admits does not exist,” it asks.

“Chairman Wheeler correctly points out that apps-driven innovation is already allowing consumers to watch video on a wide range of devices — without hurting small and independent programmers, invading privacy, or undermining copyright protections. Why then is he proposing a sweeping mandate that explicitly rejects this apps approach and strips TV providers of the technical and contractual tools they currently use to ensure these protections remain in place,” it says.

Categories: App, Articles, Broadband, Cable, Content, Equipment, In Home, Policy, Regulation, STB