Today, we applaud the FCC. I’m Matt Zinn, SVP and General Counsel at TiVo. The FCC took action today on that oh so familiar topic for TiVo – – CableCARD. As many of you know our HD platforms including Series3, TiVo HD, and Premiere are all cableCARD retail set-top box devices. In order to maximize your cable experience, you need to get a CableCARD (or sometimes two) from your operator. Often times it requires a truck-roll and some operators do charge a nominal fee for the CableCARD. Over the years we have heard that some consumers have issues breaking through these barriers when all they want to do is enjoy the very best TV experience through TiVo.
We received positive news from the FCC today that stricter rules will be put in place to ensure that consumers using retail set-top boxes will be treated equally to customers using operator leased set-top boxes. These rules include access to all cable programming delivered using switched digital techniques, no charges applied to retail box users that are not applied to leased-boxes, discounts for the cost of leased boxes included in bundled pricing, disclosure of CableCARD pricing, and the option to self-install CableCARDs rather than having to wait around (and pay for) a cable guy to stick the card in the box and read some numbers into the phone. These rules will help eliminate hurdles that have faced consumers who want a better box than is offered by their cable provider. And we thank all of our subscribers and other consumers who took the time to inform the FCC of issues they have encountered in the past so that the FCC could craft rules fixing them for the future.
American consumers are the biggest beneficiaries of the FCC’s strengthened rules requiring cable operators to accommodate subscribers using set top boxes purchased at retail and make sure that all consumers get all the channels that they have paid for. This action is truly a cause for applause. You can read the order.
Finally, the FCC has promised “strict enforcement” of its CableCARD rules so if you have issues with CableCARDs or tuning adapters from your operator and you would like to file a complaint to the FCC you can do so. On the site, check “broadcast, cable and satellite issues,” then “cable modem issues, cable signal leakage, cable customer premises equipment issues (such as CableCARDs, tuning adapters, and set-top boxes),” finally choose online form, fill out the complaint form, and hit submit. Today’s ruling illustrates that the FCC is listening to the needs of consumers.