NEW YORK (AP) – Not that long ago, the clunky cable box looked like it was on its way out.

The federal government was pressuring cable companies to open up their near-monopoly on boxes to more competition, and industry leader Comcast promised apps that could render some boxes obsolete.

That was then. Today, the vast majority of customers still need to rent a box to get full service from cable providers, and those box-replacing apps remain elusive.

Federal pressure eased following the 2016 election, and cable companies backed away from pledges to roll out box-free services.

There are plenty of box-free TV apps available, but they’re more for people who want to ditch traditional cable and satellite service, not the 94 million households that still have it.

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