LOS ANGELES – As the fee fight between Time Warner Cable and CBS threatens to prevent millions of Americans from viewing major sporting events this weekend, fans will be hanging out in bars, hooking up antennas, and firing up laptops to get around the blackout.
Nancy Keiter, a graphic designer in New York, is patching together an unusual schedule. She plans to watch early rounds of the PGA Championship golf tournament on TNT on Saturday and Sunday until 2 p.m. Eastern time.
Then, shell switch from the TV to her computer, where shell head to PGA.com. The site will follow the featured golfers with live video coverage through the trophy ceremony.
Still, Keiter is peeved that she cant watch the action the normal way: by switching to CBS on her TV.
I have my fingers crossed that cooler heads will prevail, she said in an email interview. I think it is so rich that CBS and Time Warner say they have the best interests of the viewers in mind. Please. This is about money and shareholders, not about the viewer!
Both CBS and Time Warner appear to be hunkered down for the long haul. Their fight is over how much Time Warner Cable pays for CBS programming and how much of the networks content it can use online.
Because they couldnt agree, about 3 million cable subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas have been without CBS programming since Aug. 2.
Although both companies say negotiations are ongoing, representatives for both companies were away Friday and werent expected back for the remainder of the weekend. Time Warner Cable sent out a news release Thursday detailing how consumers could find sports and other CBS programming in other ways.
In New York, the cable operator has recommended signing up for a month-long free trial of Aereo, which transmits CBS signals to laptops, tablets, mobile devices and computers, for $8 a month.
People with a relatively unobstructed view of a TV tower can buy and hook up a digital antenna to catch free over-the-air broadcasts on their own.
Paul Scoptur, a lawyer in Wauwatosa, Wis., who is suing Time Warner Cable for a similar blackout in southeast Wisconsin, plans to catch the Green Bay Packers first preseason game Friday night against Arizona with an awkward workaround.
Hell watch the game on Spanish-language Telemundo with the volume turned down, and listen to the play-by-play – in English – on AM radio.
In a separate fee fight, Time Warner Cable has blacked out Journal Communications Inc.s NBC affiliate, WTMJ-TV, to cable subscribers in southeastern Wisconsin since July 25.
I blame Time Warner because thats who my contract is with, said Scoptur. Theres a lot of people situated like myself who are just ticked off.