Sunday, October 23, 2016
  • Thursday, Sep. 29, 2016
FCC delays vote on much-disputed rules on cable boxes 
This Wednesday, May 30, 2007, file photo shows a cable box on top of a television in Philadelphia.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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Federal regulators have delayed a vote on requiring cable and satellite TV companies to make free apps to bypass the need for cable boxes.

Consumers could potentially save a few hundred dollars a year if they don't have to buy or rent a cable box and instead use apps for streaming gadgets they already have, such as Roku or Apple TV. The Federal Communications Commission also wanted to promote gadgets that would let people search easily for video from online services such as Netflix and YouTube, not just TV channels.

The plan has drawn criticism from the TV industry, Hollywood studios and dozens of lawmakers.

The FCC's could make it easier to find popular TV from sources other than cable, putting further pressure on the TV industry, said Nicholas Economides, an economics professor at New York University's business school. Traditional TV distributors have already been losing subscribers in the past few years.

The FCC canceled a vote Thursday; Chairman Tom Wheeler and the two other Democratic commissioners say they are still working on the plan, which had already been changed substantially to make it more amenable to companies that create TV shows and movies, like Disney and Fox. Three votes are needed for approval.

One complaint from industry groups was that the FCC would have power to oversee licensing agreements with tech companies that would make such gadgets.

Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the Democratic commissioners whose vote Wheeler needed to pass the measure, has said she was concerned that the FCC didn't have the authority to oversee such licensing agreements.