Big cable has a plan to help you dump the cable box you’re renting

You may finally be able to dump your cable box and its $10-to-$20 monthly fee.

But will you believe that promise when it comes from the companies that have foisted that box on you for years? You may have to decide sooner than you thought.

A group of cable operators last week announced a new proposal called “Ditch the Box,” pledging to ship apps for smart TVs that could do pretty much everything cable boxes could do (except pause or record shows).

The group pushing “Ditch the Box”— called the Future of Television Coalition — said it’s aiming to provide an alternative to the Federal Communication Commission’s “flawed” proposal to “Unlock the Box.” The “Unlock the Box” deal pushed by FCC Chair Tom Wheelerwould not only free you to use the hardware of your choice but would let you watch in an app of your liking.

Cable’s new deal

The “Ditch the Box” plan is something of a compromise between the status quo and the FCC’s “Unlock the Box” plan, and it’s backed by the Motion Picture Association in addition to the Future of Television Coalition members including Comcast (CMCSA) and other major cable operators as well as AT&T (T) and Dish Network (DISH).

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