As the old adage says, nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes — and the frustration caused by internet and cable providers. Okay, so maybe we added that last part, but as incredible as it is that we can have access to the world of the Internet in our very home, the hassle of dealing with cable companies is something we can almost all relate to.
Recently, a proposal was introduced to the FCC that would to allow third-party manufacturers to create their own set-top TV boxes, giving consumers an alternative to leasing devices from cable and satellite providers. This proposal would, in theory, open the industry and help increase competition and, thus, innovation.
The original proposal claimed that the current rules regulating this industry are archaic, and that this new proposal would end the need for multiple remote controls and benefit consumers due to extra competition in the market, which would lower the overall product prices. Unfortunately, the open-standards plan for set-top boxes was ultimately scrapped.
Opposition to the bill included all cable and satellite companies, music labels, Hollywood studios, and various unions. They argued that the opposite would occur — that “opening up the market to third-party manufacturers would endanger current copyright policies, stifle innovation, and result in new business expenses which would consequently be passed onto consumers and negate any potential end-user savings.”
While this particular movement in the world of open standards may have met an untimely end, it still underscores how important open standards are in our daily life. As we mentioned before, frustration with the proprietary nature of internet and cable providers is a pretty common theme among us. The need for open standards is not reserved for highly complicated and out of reach technology; the need is grounded in our everyday lives. As such, each of the pillars in our Modern Paradigm for Standards revolves around encouraging open standards to the benefit of all in every aspect of our lives.
Where do you see open standards impacting your day-to-day life? How do you feel about the scrapping of this particular open standards bill?