Bad for consumers, bad for pay-TV: why is the set-top box still around?

TiVO Premiere DVRSet-top box rental fees imposed by cable operators add up to more than $231 per year for each of their subscribers -- and 99 percent of all subscribers rent their boxes directly from their cable provider, with few other options available to them. While that lock on the customer should provide a nice margin for pay-TV operators, the industry argues that set-top leasing is hardly a profitable business.

So, if clunky old set-top boxes are bad for the operator and bad for the customer, why does the industry still cling to them as sleeker, faster alternatives enter the market -- products like over-the-top streaming devices by Roku, Amazon and others? FierceCable editor Daniel Frankel takes an in-depth look at the problem, detailing past attempts to break consumers out of the set-top rental model, like CableCard, and exploring regulatory and market efforts ongoing today. Check out this special report.

Suggested Articles

HBO Max, the upcoming subscription streaming service from WarnerMedia, has filled out the rest of its executive team in charge of original programming.

NCTA-The Internet and Television Association is pointing to a new report that shows the cable industry had a $450 billion impact on the U.S. economy in 2018.

Subscriber growth is still the key metric by which Netflix’s performance is measured. By that standard, the company just posted some disastrous second-quarter…