01/17/2013 03:34 pm ET

Time Warner Cable Claims Netflix Isn't Playing Fair

It's a little ironic for one of the cable companies -- which many say use their market clout to squeeze customers -- to complain about being treated unfairly. But that's exactly what Time Warner Cable did on Wednesday, whining about Netflix's business decisions.

In a statement given to Multichannel News on Wednesday, Time Warner Cable said that "Netflix is actually closing off access to some of its content while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs."

The statement comes in response to Netflix's announcement last week that it would be providing limited 3D and "Super HD" video offerings, but only to subscribers whose Internet service providers work with Netflix's new Open Connect content delivery system.

Netflix's push for Open Connect isn't arbitrary; Internet providers can currently charge Netflix (as well as other video-streaming companies like YouTube) high prices for delivering video. Netflix decided to cut costs last summer by building its own system to deliver high-bandwidth content to consumers.

But Time Warner Cable and several other U.S. cable companies decided they'd rather keep charging Netflix for content delivery and refused to support Open Connect. Netflix upped the ante with its 3D and Super HD announcement last week, and now Time Warner is complaining about the arrangement, saying it's unfair that Netflix is taking steps to prevent getting charged for high-bandwidth content delivery.

Many see the irony in Time Warner Cable's complaint. Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch detailed the ridiculousness of the charge, noting that if Time Warner began streaming Netflix's 3D and Super HD video without Open Connect, it would almost certainly slow the cable company's connection speeds for everyone.

Luckily for consumers, Multichannel News reports that Time Warner Cable (despite its tantrum) is already in discussions with Netflix about how the companies can work together to deliver Netflix content. The likely outcome, Multichannel says, will be delivery via Open Connect.

Just don't expect Time Warner Cable to quit whining before the deal is done.



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