SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Comcast says later this year you won’t need a cable box to watch cable as the company follows its rivals in offering TV-watching apps.

The announcement comes as the federal government works on new rules that would force the TV industry to let tech companies – say, TiVo or Google – sell cable boxes, too. Consumers typically pay cable companies extra fees for these boxes, and the cable industry is opposed to the effort.

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Like Time Warner Cable and Charter, which is buying Time Warner Cable, Comcast is going to launch an app on the streaming-TV gadget Roku that takes the place of a box. It’s also coming up with an app for Samsung smart TVs.

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The company doesn’t say when the apps will be available.

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