And here’s the kicker: Since 1994, according to a recent analysis, the cost of cable set-top boxes has risen 185% while the cost of computers, televisions, and mobile phones has dropped by 90%.
Most savvy TV/media consumers -- who have tracked the cost of electronic equipment down through the years -- can be found scratching their heads.
Now figure those homes in recent years also now have Apple TV box, a Roku device, Amazon Fire TV, and/or a smart TV, which features a selection (albeit, not extensive) of TV/media apps.
The FCC wants to at least “unlock” the set-top box to create some freedoms, either hardware or software changes/additions. You may ask: Why has this gone on for so long? Well, not everyone was taking this for granted.
Some years back, Apple was mulling making actual TV sets. Before he passed, Steve Jobs had effectively said that he'd “solved” the mystery of simplifying the TV experience.
In the Walter Isaacson biography, Jobs says: “'It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.' No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. 'It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.'"
We could only fantasize what he meant.
Perhaps Jobs also had a plan about how to navigate new business partnerships with major premium TV networks and content owners in this regard. One could also assume it included solving the software/hardware “set-top” box issue that has been a part of people’s living rooms for decades.
And maybe this might could have solved more than a few hurdles for the scalable, addressable advertising platform many TV marketers have dreamed about.
Not sure what the effect of an FCC decision would be. Sounds like all this is years away -- with more leasing consumer costs to come.