... the nondescript cable box is the object of a lot of frenzied lobbying over at the Federal Communication Commission these days, with consequences for your pocketbook and how you watch television. ¶ As with their service, cable companies have a monopoly on these "set-top" boxes, which haven't changed much over the past 15 years. If you want digital service or premium channels such as HBO, you need the box, and you use the one provided by your cable company. ¶ About 10 years ago, people on Capitol Hill and elsewhere began to wonder if that was such a good idea. In addition to concerns that the cable people had another cozy source of protected revenue, they didn't like that you couldn't take the box with you if you moved. ¶ So Congress, and then the FCC, embarked on plans to create competition for set-top boxes that deliver digital programs. ... Link: The FCC Frenzy Over Controlling Your Cable Box (washingtonpost.com).