Comcast COO Steve Burke and Apple CEO Steve Jobs apparently agree on one thing as voiced by Burke during the D: All Things Digital conference: "There is very little evidence that people are giving up their subscription television."
Jobs, of course, believes that set-top boxes currently configured and controlled by cable TV operators are the reason why Internet content is not flowing more freely across more platforms. The only way to break this logjam is to tear up the set-top box model and start fresh, he said. Burke, being a cable operator, sees it differently. Comcast has 40 million set-tops in consumer homes and it's very tough to change those with something new, he said.
Throwing yet another voice into the mix was DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who said the Apple iPad is the device that could change the current system of windows and cable contracts by making content more readily available on non-cable-offered devices.
The set-top box brouhaha, always just below the surface in any conversation about cable, has also attracted the attention of the FCC (again) which has criticized the industry's set-top "duopoly" of Motorola and Cisco and suggested a new push for universal home broadband gateways. The current set-top box, CableCards, "hasn't worked (and) hasn't generated competition," FCC chair Julius Genachowski said at the same conference.
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