Advertisements I can't believe how stupid I've been. For the longest time, I have assumed that Satellite carriers were exempt from FCC regulations because Satellites weren't coverred by them. I didn't really think why- I just assumed it had to do with some obscure federal laws about what the FCC's jurisdiction was- cablecos were very much like a power company but Digital Broadcast Satellite (DBS) wasn't, so no jurisdiction. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Classic AT and DT_DC cleared this up in a question having to do with DirecTv. Direct link: http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/...ment=2101780002 Now many people may not want to wade through the bureaucratease of that, but there were a couple reasons that I will probably inaccurately summarize as the following: Satellite was new and small (8% of the market at the time). Traditionally, regulators exempt newcomer businesses from new initiatives. Satellite boxes could be purchased by a large number of third party vendors, and competition was very healthy between them. Third party Satellite boxes may be used nationally and interchangably between different services. The carriers did not have a stranglehold on producing the boxes as the cable companies did. Oh how the world has changed. First off, the satellite world bears little resemblence to the one where folks could go buy one of those enormous satellite dishes that could be pointed at several different satellites, and where you could buy a box that would allow you to tune in a bewildering amount of US and foreign content. In Europe, satellite broadcasting dominates the market, and in America, the cable companies are very concerned about their steady losses to satellite companies like Direct and Dish. These companies are hardly frail newcomers. Secondly, there no longer is a great deal of choice for satellite offerings. Currently Rupert Murdoch has effective control of DirecTv, and the SkyTv satellite businesses in Europe and in Asia. Both Dish (echostar) and DirecTv have been in discussions on merging. Thirdly, I don't think anyone could argue that there is any kind of thriving business of third party providers of satellite boxes. If you want to have Dish or DirecTv, you are forced to use their box, and you cannot use a box you paid them for to use interchangably with a different satellite provider. You are locked in with your investment, and the satellite provider has a natural monopoly due to the barriers to switching. The reasons for exempting Satellite companies from the cablecard requirement no longer exist. They are behemoths that have global reach and control not only the manufacture of the boxes, and the delivery, but in growing degrees, even the content. Why is it relevant to Tivo? Wouldn't Tivo be able to petition the FCC to allow customers of Direct to switch their DirecTivo support to Tivo? Isn't the FCC refusing to do their job in assuring that boxes may be used interchangably? Tivo as well as a number of other DVR manufacturers would love to build one box that you can simply plug a Comcast, DirecTv, or Dish Network card into, and that you can order your services from whichever carrier provides the best services on any particular month. Doesn't this encourage competition? Isn't that what the FCC's job is in regulating the industry? Should Direct and Dish be able to dictate all features do and do not appear in the boxes that access their services? Comcast and Viacom aren't allowed to manufacture their own boxes- Why should Direct? On boxes like DirecTivo's that they do not manufacture, why should the carrier be allowed to control all software so that they can effectively control all features regardles who manufacturers the box? Isn't that situation tantamount to same situation Congress intended to prohibit? In other words, shouldn't DirectTv be prohibted from disabling Tivo features on Tivo boxes? If Tivo and other DVR manufacturers like Sony Pioneer Panasonic and Samsung had the the ability to compete on an even playing field with the carrier provided boxes, we'd have a heck of a lot more choice and versatility in switching providers and thereby get the carriers to compete on the ridiculous charges they get away with taking from our pocketbooks month by month.