Missing CBS? Time Warner Cable Offers Free Antennas for Frustrated Customers

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The ongoing dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS has been low on progress and high on finger-pointing and empty gestures. CBS has now been off the air for three weeks for Time Warner Cable subscribers in several major markets, and mostly the two companies have just explained how wrong the other side is. Today, we can add another half-measure to the list of not-exactly-solutions: Time Warner Cable is offering free antennas to customers desperate for their CBS fix.

In an email to customers, the cable operator announced that its subscribers in affected markets such as New York and Los Angeles can pick up a free antenna at a Time Warner Cable retail location, allowing them to receive CBS’s over-the-air broadcast signal. For those not near a Time Warner Cable store, subscribers can get a $20 credit at Best Buy to purchase an antenna.

(MORE: CBS Calls Time Warner Cable Proposal a ‘Sham’)

Though CBS transmits its programming for free to anyone with an antenna, the network and the cable operator are at an impasse over retransmission fees, the money that cable companies pay for the right to send CBS and other broadcast programming directly to customers via their cable box. Time Warner Cable has claimed that CBS is asking for an exorbitant increase in fees, while CBS says Time Warner Cable is the lone cable operator unwilling to negotiate in a reasonable manner. The network tried to prove this point Thursday by announcing that it had negotiated a new three-year deal to carry CBS on Verizon’s FiOS television service. “This deal was reached in a short period of time and CBS has once again achieved fair value for our over-the-air rights,” said CBS exec Ray Hopkins in a passive-aggressive statement aimed at highlighting the alleged obstinance of Time Warner Cable.

There are signs that the icy relationship between CBS and Time Warner Cable may be thawing, though. The two sides have reached an agreement to temporarily suspend the blackout in New York City during debates for the mayoral and city comptroller elections.

August has been a relatively low-stakes month in which to stage a programming blackout, since most primetime shows are airing reruns and none of CBS’s major sports franchises are in season. But the pressure to find a solution will soon be heating up. The U.S. Open tennis tournament begins Monday, and CBS has the broadcast rights to the tourney’s biggest matches. Time Warner Cable’s band-aid solution is to offer blacked out subscribers free access to the Tennis Channel during the tournament, which will air coverage of much of the early rounds.

(MORE: CBS, Time Warner Cable Blackout Drags on As Consumers Fume)

But even that programming challenge is nothing compared to the vitriol sports fans are sure to spew if CBS isn’t back on the air by the time football season rolls around. CBS is set to air six NFL games when the season kicks off on Sept. 8, and it’ll begin airing college football regularly on Saturdays later in September. Both attract big ratings, and it’s unlikely that Time Warner Cable, CBS, or the football leagues would want to deal with the hordes of angry fans a continued blackout would cause. Analysts expect the issue to be resolved before kickoff, but the clock is ticking.

29 comments
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foxcrane
foxcrane

Thanks for nothing TWC.   Antennas don't work in Simi Valley, CA.   Last time I tried (with the best antenna on the market) not one over-the-air channel came in.    I've read CBS basically wants another $1 per month per subscriber.  That would be $12 per year.   But somehow, TWC is  willing to give you $20 to buy an antenna?   LOL!   I guess it makes sense that the worst cable provider in the country can't do simple math either.

laserman51
laserman51

Although I am not a TWC customer I am concerned over the true facts.  Is CBS demanding too much money?  Is TWC being correct in not airing CBS programming?  The concern to the consumers might not be that TWC is not airing in that CBS is being the bully and not allowing it to air at a reasonable price.  Fact in point, that TWC is giving away free antennas for its customers goes to show that they are trying to make their customers more aware of the problem is that its not as easy for them just to purchase and antenna and show you the channel.  They have to pay for it, which to me is bs.  if a channel can be viewed by an antenna then it should be free to re-air, and in fact maybe CBS should pay TWC to air it instead.  No different than radio, you hear ads you ride down the road, listening to a song say its sweet go buy the album, so if it wasn't for the radio station getting paid to play the song, you would have never heard it to buy the album.  Correct?

fedarty95
fedarty95

So apparently Time Warner does not give a damn about the Dallas market as all the things they are doing is in New York and Los Angeles

wahoo60@aol.com
wahoo60@aol.com

Antennas do not work in much of Southern CA...mountains interfere....TWC knows that well....

HbwRich
HbwRich

@TIME @TIMEBusiness or switch to direct tv, let me know, I will help you save 10/month....been a satisfied customer for years.

yezdance
yezdance

@TIME @TIMEBusiness "Time Warner Cable claims CBS is asking for an exorbitant increase in fees".< Now that`s ironic. and amusing.

yvonnesque
yvonnesque

@VLuck Lol...antennas don't work in NYC. Smh. TWC should pay customer subscription fees to @Aereo to obtain CBS coverage.

Marcus_Porcius
Marcus_Porcius

@laserman51 I am a TWC customer and I can tell you that TWC is, in my opinion, lying their behinds off.  CBS is also at fault, but it's about 90% TWC.

mhamm
mhamm

@fedarty95  As a matter of fact, TWC will tell you (if you take the time to find the facts) that they have reps on hand at  DFW area Best Buy stores issuing vouchers today.

mhamm
mhamm

@fedarty95  The article said "affected markets such as New York and Los Angeles."  It isn't limited to those areas.  Go get yours.



Dell
Dell

@wahoo60@aol.com They work fine in most of LA.  You act like you have mountains all over the city, stop being ridiculous

VLuck
VLuck

@yvonnesque @Aereo Wouldn't be surprised if they do. They were promoting Aereo at the start of the blackout as an alternative.

Dell
Dell

@Marcus_Porcius @laserman51 Yeah because the CEO's have called you and explained the sitch.  Read the news articles and you'll see that things are not all cut and dry.