TIVO opposed the move by Congress to end the FCC rule. Company executives believe the lack of regulation could limit future competition.
Nothing will change in the short-term — cable companies will continue to provide CableCARDs to outside companies, even if they don't use them in their own set-top boxes, Matt Zinn, TIVO's general counsel, told NBC News.
"But years down the road, retail devices could be left behind as operators move to different and potentially non-standard security solutions," he said.
Read MoreAT&T to combine TV, wireless services in one bill
As part of its sunset legislation, Congress told the FCC to create a committee to study what should be done to preserve competition in the set-top marketplace. The Downloadable Security Technical Advisory Committee (DSTAC) is scheduled to report to Congress by Sept. 4.
Consumer advocates hope the committee finds ways to boost competition in this lucrative market.
"We understand the FCC is taking a close look at this problem, and we hope policymakers and the cable industry can address this frustrating problem promptly," Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in an email to NBC News. "With cable rates increasing every year, consumers shouldn't have to pay excessive fees for equipment to get the content they want."
Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org agrees. Dworsky owns his Samsung HD cable box — he bought it two years ago for less than $100 and saves $10 a month in rental fees to his cable company.
These days, Dworsky said, it's nearly impossible to find any box for sale other than TIVO, which is a DVR with a monthly service fee.
"Why aren't manufacturers jumping in on this multi-billion-dollar business to make boxes that people can buy at the electronics store, instead of paying a high monthly rental fee?" Dworsky asked. "The market was flooded with phones, once people didn't have to lease them from Ma Bell anymore, but companies aren't making set-top boxes that compete with the cable companies. Why? I don't know what the answer is, but there's something wrong with the current system."