AT&T Might Make Apple’s TV Dreams Come True
FCC Chairman @TomWheeler ‘s set-top cable box proposal may not come to fruition, but it may result in a good compromise. In June, @AT&T (NYSE:T) submitted a proposal to the FCC providing a solution to the lack of consumer choice when it comes to the hardware cable subscribers use to watch TV. It proposes an industry standard for an app that could run on third-party hardware like an @Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV or @Roku box. Pay-TV providers would retain control over the content delivery, but would allow customers to choose their own hardware instead of requiring them to rent a set-top box. @Google, the @Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) subsidiary, has said AT&T’s proposal is a “constructive effort” in its fight to open the set-top box to all hardware makers. Some cable companies are already ready to go Last fall, @TimeWarner Cable (NYSE:TWC) experimented with letting subscribers use a Roku as their main set-top box instead of Time Warner’s hardware. The cable company simply ported its existing TV Everywhere app, which allowed users to stream most networks from within their homes via smartphone and tablets, and made it available on the Roku app store. Most other pay-TV providers have similar apps and policies, and could quickly launch a similar app for Roku, Apple, and Google, among others. While the technical capabilities are there for all the major pay-TV providers, many will still hesitate to enact any changes. Renting set-top boxes to customers produces an average revenue stream of $231 per household every year. That’s exactly the type of problem the FCC is looking to solve by opening up hardware to third parties and allowing customers to own devices outright.