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.

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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.

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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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