FCC Makes It Slightly Easier to Pull Plug on Cable Box Rentals

It’s been 14 years since Congress first instructed the Federal Communications Commission to make it easier for consumers to avoid cable-TV set-top box rental fees. The agency is still working on that one, but on Thursday it approved some new rules to help give consumers a few more choices.

The agency tweaked its so-called “CableCard” rules to make it easier for consumer electronics makers to make cable-ready TVs and other devices and for consumers to install them.

Cable-ready TVs and set-top boxes have been around for years, but consumers haven’t been able to use them to see some cable programming (like On-Demand movies) because of some technical protections cable companies installed to prevent piracy. The FCC changed its rules slightly to make it easier for consumer electronics makers to produce devices that access all cable channels.

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