Time Warner Cable Inc. subscribers have been without cable access to CBS Corp. channels since early August. And since the battle shows no sign of winding down, TWC is now offering customers a very retro alternative -- namely, free over-the-air TV antennas.
In a company blog post, Time Warner Cable says it will hand out a free TV antenna to any cable subscriber affected by the CBS blackout. The move is a way to encourage viewers to watch the network the old-fashioned way -- by tuning in to free, over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts.
Customers can pick up their complimentary antennas at a TWC retail outlet as long as supplies last. Or they can purchase an antenna at a Best Buy store and receive a $20 rebate.
In addition, Time Warner Cable is giving away a free video-on-demand movie coupon and a free preview of the Starz Kids/Family network. It’s also offering free access to the Tennis Channel all the way through the end of the US Open tournament on September 9.
The antenna give-away has the ironic consequence of reminding viewers that there's a way to watch TV without a cable subscription. On the one hand, it's a signal to CBS that Time Warner cable is willing to play hardball with retransmission fees. (See Time Warner Cable Sacks CBS.)
But, on the other hand, if users have to switch TV inputs to watch CBS, why not do the same thing to watch more video with a Roku box or a Chromecast device? It's a fine line for TWC to walk.
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable