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Video distribution is no longer exclusive to cable, broadcast, satellite, and other “MVPDs” (Multichannel Video Programming Distributors). Increasingly, consumers are “cutting the cord” and turning to alternative, web-based means of accessing their favorite video content. For many consumers, services like online video, Hulu, and streaming Netflix and devices like Roku, Popbox, and Kylo, are less expensive alternatives that also allow them more control over the content they pay for.
SNL Kagan forecasts that by 2014, about 46.3 million homes will have at least one TV with a broadband connection to the Internet and 7% of all households will depend on the Web instead of pay-TV to watch professionally produced content.
Not surprisingly, one of the ways that the incumbent video programming industry is preventing this competition from moving forward is by inhibiting the use of electronic programming guide (EPG) data by third party devices and justifying this inhibition through copyright claims.
Public Knowledge’s Position
Online video is a potentially thriving new market. Every day, more and more content is available online, spurring innovation in ways to access that content. Incumbent distributors—cable, satellite, phone company TV services, et al—shouldn’t be allowed to kill this innovation in the cradle. Public Knowledge fights to ensure that policy reflects and encourages the vibrancy of video in the 21st century.
Here are some issues that will effect the future of video:
You’ve never had to rent your computer from your ISP, and—thanks to the FCC—you don’t have to rent your phone from the phone company. A consumer should be able to attach any non-harmful device to a cable network and access the programming content that they are paying for.
A current FCC proposal called “AllVid” would enable the content provided by MVPDs to be available on a home’s IP network and, as such, accessible by any device that can connect to an IP network.
In the US broadcasters have certain “retransmission” rights—cable systems cannot just carry broadcast stations willy nilly. This is a complex, highly regulated area of the law that tries to balance the interests of viewers, cable systems, broadcasters, and content creators.
Public Knowledge fights to ensure that broadcast and cable companies do not punish the consumer while negotiating with each other, and to prevent issues of intellectual property from distorting these agreements.
What you can do to help
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- Give policy makers a piece of your mind: act now.
For More Information
- Read the comments we filed with the FCC on the future of online video as a viable competitor for traditional MVPDs