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The FCC wants to unlock your cable box, and Silicon Valley agrees

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Silicon Valley has managed to break apart the long-locked cable TV bundle. On Thursday, The Federal Communications Commission okayed a proposal to let cable TV customers swap out their Comcast or TWC cable boxes for third-party boxes and applications.

The set-top box market is worth some $20 billion. The FCC's move is a big win for Apple, Amazon, Roku, Xbox, Playstation, Chromecast, and others yet to come.

From the New York Times:

The proposal passed in a 3-to-2 vote, with the commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly dissenting. Cable providers and other stakeholders will have 60 days to comment. If the proposal takes effect, the industry will have two years to comply.

A related WIRED feature not to miss on this subject: “The FCC's War to Liberate Your Cable Box.”

There’s still a long ways to go before the changes the FCC voted on, which would better enable consumers to get their set-top box fix from people other than Comcast and TWC, have any actual impact. Now comes a lengthy comment period, where supporters and dissenters can voice their opinions, revisions based on those comments, and a final vote after that.

It’s inarguable that the television industry is changing. What the FCC’s actions will ultimately decide is not just how quickly, but in what direction.

[via Robert Tercek]