Today's television receivers and VCRs tune the cable spectrum, however some consumers experience problems when connected to cable systems. The set-top decoder, when connected to a television receiver, reduces the functionality of a television receiver to a monitor, disabling most of the television convenience features. Despite the availability of other alternatives, for cable operators the technology of choice for tuning access, subscriber denial and control is the set-top addressable decoder. As television technology becomes more sophisticated the loss of these features creates frustration and anger with consumers.
Congress responded to this frustration, as well as perceptions about cable operators, and the Cable Act of 1992 resulted. We shall review the history, causes, legislation and what can be done long term to alleviate this problem.