The FCC has recently proposed a rule change that would force cable companies to open up their set top box to everyone. Cable companies have opposed this, and though maybe surprising to some Roku also agrees with the cable companies and opposes this rule change as well.
Proponents claim that cable operators are forcing consumers to rent their box for their service. While this is somewhat true, Roku has made grounds (specifically with Time Warner Cable and others) at entering the market with cable operators by offering their device as an alternative to the traditional cable box.
Opponents suggest that proponents like Apple want this rule to pass because they have not been able to innovate like Roku and enter this market, and this is a back door way for the Apple’s of the world that are trailing Roku’s entry into the set top market. Apple failed last year in it’s pursuit of bundling cable channels on it’s Apple Tv device.
Investors Business Daily quotes Tricia Mifsud, a Roku spokeswoman as saying the following about the proposed changes, “We have not been advocating for a rule making in this area at this time. While we are known for selling streaming players, it is only one area of our business. Customers also access our platform through smart TVs and streaming players that operators deploy.
In addition to Time Warner Cable, we also have a similar arrangement with Charter where they are buying streaming players to offer in a bundle,” added Roku’s Mifsud. “Overseas, we have partnerships with Sky in several countries and Telstra where we have licensed use of our platform and they have deployed their streaming video services to co-branded streaming players.”
Besides Roku’s entry into the set top box market consumers also have plenty of other cord cutting options available to watch what was traditional cable and have alternative before them other than the cable company and their box. The market is rapidly evolving and likely doesn’t need the FCC to hand Apple a victory they could not win on their own.