Obama signs satellite TV bill

President Obama on Thursday signed into law a bill to renew an expiring satellite TV law.

The five-year extension of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) will make sure that more than 1 million rural satellite subscribers are able to watch distance broadcast channels such as CBS and ABC. Without reauthorization, companies’ ability to beam in those channels would have expired at the end of the year.  

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Some lawmakers had attempted to use the opportunity to make drastic changes to the current system for transmitting TV stations, but many of those reforms failed to gain much traction.

One significant change, however, will end a security standard in cable boxes that companies have said prevents them from innovating with new, less expensive technology. That move met vocal opposition from TiVo and some Democratic lawmakers, who feared it would allow cable companies to look out competition.

The bill easily passed through the House and Senate last month.