NEW YORK: Federal regulators delayed a decision Thursday on requiring cable and satellite TV companies to make free apps to eliminate the need for cable boxes.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said commissioners ran out of time to discuss last-minute changes to the proposal.

Consumers could potentially save a few hundred dollars a year if they don’t have to buy or rent a cable box and instead use apps for smart TVs or streaming gadgets they already have, such as Roku or Apple TV.

The Federal Communications Commission also wanted to promote gadgets that would let people search easily for video from online services such as Netflix and YouTube, not just TV channels.

The plan has drawn criticism from the TV industry, Hollywood studios and dozens of lawmakers on issues including copyright and FCC authority.

The FCC’s plan could make it easier to find TV shows and movies from sources other than cable, putting further pressure on the TV industry.