Cable boxes have turned into a serious point of contention for cable companies already struggling to compete with the portability and versatility of streaming services. This point was driven home earlier last week at the Worldwide Developer’s Convention when Apple announced that Charter Spectrum will now offer the Apple TV App.
According to TechHive, the Spectrum offering comes complete with Siri access, and TV app support. In addition to all of this, they intend to include a “zero sign-on” feature that will allow customers that have both the Internet and TV services to bypass the login for TV Everywhere apps and Apple TV. While this may seem like a nail in the coffin of cable boxes everywhere, some consumers are still skeptical of the changes.
Apple’s lead TV designer Jen Folse explained, saying, “[The] typical cable box is becoming a thing of the past as these companies embrace internet-based delivery, and many of them share our vision of Apple TV as the one device for live, on-demand, and cloud DVR content.”
For the last decade, pay TV providers have used the cable box as a way to lock customers into long-term contracts and to charge them more for the services that they receive. Even though new tech capabilities have made cable boxes nearly obsolete, many companies cling to them.
Skeptics point out that charter already offers apps like Roku, Xbox One, and Samsung Smart TVs and has continued to demand that customers keep at least one cable box in the home in order to use them. Apple’s idealism is fantastic, but the reality may be far from what subscribers expect.
Jared Newman of TechHive writes, “…Rob Pegoraro pointed out on Twitter, the company isn’t saying whether that will change with the Apple TV app. While Spectrum does offer a streaming-only version of its service, it only covers a limited number of channels and does not include DVR service.”
This follows the lead of cable companies like Comcast who may offer apps like Roku and Netflix, but who continue to build cable box rental into the overall price of the service—ultimately undermining any savings that the customer would’ve gained by using these apps in the first place.
The current stance on the importance of cable boxes has wavered greatly from the position that cable providers had years ago when the FCC proposed that every cable company and entertainment provider have the power to build and design their own cable boxes. Since Ajit Pai became the FCC’s Commissioner, that policy has been buried underneath a bevy of other issues.
The future of cord cutting is cemented in the inability of traditional cable companies to embrace flexibility and evolve with the rest of the entertainment industry.
Disclaimer: This article may have had additional images, links or data that was added by this site's editor.
We are happy to be a featured partner of the Cord Cutting Daily news network.