This May Be the End of Set-Top Boxes

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has announced an agreement with Sony that will create standards for two-way televisions and "other devices" that will work without set-top boxes. Today, the set-top box provides the interaction with the cable operator. By having an industry-wide standard, the set-top boxes (and their remotes!!!!) can go away and the functionality can be provided by the TV. Of course, "set-top box" is not an accurate description of these devices in an age of flat-panel displays. The set-top box usually sets next to or near to a TV and is more accurately described as a shelf-top box. (Mine, in fact, is a shelf-hangover box which doesn't really fit on the shelf because the cable connectors are in the back and add at least an extra inch to its depth. And don't suggest turning it backwards: then the remote sensor is hidden.)

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