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Assessing impact on customers of Charter takeover of Time Warner and forecasting the future of set-top TV cable boxes

Time Warner Cable headquarters are seen in Columbus Circle in New York City.
Time Warner Cable headquarters are seen in Columbus Circle in New York City.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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Seeing no reason to delay the deal further, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission have both signed off on the deal worth $78 billion that would allow Charter Communications to take over Time Warner Cable.

Four FCC commissioners still have to sign off on the deal.

Assuming they do, Charter Communications would become the nation’s largest cable and internet provider with more than 23 million subscribers in 41 states. Only Comcast has more cable customers than Charter.

Speaking of Comcast, it has announced it will offer its programming to Roku and Samsung smart TV users through its Xfinity TV app. The plan contrasts with the FCC’s proposal that cable providers dispatch with leasing customers proprietary set-top boxes that deliver the company’s content to your TV screen.

New, open set-top boxes would replace the old proprietary ones in the hopes of both driving down customers’ monthly bills and providing a wider selection of content providers.


Steve Effros, president of Effros Communications, a cable industry consultancy based in Virginia, and partner and director at Beyond Broadband Technology, a tech company that has developed and patented a downloadable security approach for data; he’s also former president of Cable Telecommunications Association, an industry trade association

Matt Wood, policy director for Free Press, an organization advocating for universal, affordable internet access and diverse media ownership

Larry Downes, Washington Post contributor and author of the article “The future of TV is arriving faster than anyone predicted”; he is an Internet industry analyst and author of several books, including “Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance"