Cablevision settles class-action suit over set-top rental fees

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) has settled a class-action suit filed against it for tying various services to set-top rental fees.

According to documents related to the settlement, which were obtained by Broadcasting & Cable, the settlement obligates Cablevision to open its systems to certain third-party set-top box providers.

The MSO has also agreed to provide all of its subscribers four months free of AMC Networks' streaming channels, whether or not they were part of the class action. 

Those who were part of the claim can receive a one-time credit, valued at between $20 to $40, or choose from among several services valued between $50 to $140. 

Cablevision also agreed to pay $9.5 million in attorneys' fees for the six-year-old anti-trust case that involves Cablevision customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. 

"We will not comment beyond the publicly available filings in the litigation and note that the settlement is subject to approval of the court," said Cablevision in a statement provided to FierceCable.  

Cox Communications was also sued recently for allegedly forcing customers to lease set-tops in order to view programming. The judge in that case tossed out a $19 million jury verdict last month, citing a lack of evidence that the MSO coerced its customers into leasing boxes.

Cable companies have long been accused of not supporting CableCard, the technology standard -- used by companies including TiVo -- that authenticates third-party set-tops sold at retail to work in the pay-TV ecosystem. 

Over the summer, as part of a Congressional mandate, the FCC proposed several technology solutions meant to replace CableCard. The cable and technology industries are currently haggling over those proposals. 

For more:
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story

Related articles:
NCTA takes aim at Public Knowledge's cloud-based AllVid proposal
Judge tosses $19M set-top verdict against Cox
Cox ordered to pay $6.31M for tying set-top fees to premium video services

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