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Time Warner Cable: Netflix closing off content access to some ISPs

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) thinks Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) is playing on an uneven field when it comes to its Open Connect private CDN, making it difficult for ISPs who do not partner with the streaming video provider to have access to new enhanced content.

"While they call it 'Open Connect,' Netflix is actually closing off access to some of its content while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs. We believe it is wrong for Netflix to withhold any content formats from our subscribers and the subscribers of many other ISPs. Time Warner Cable's network is more than capable of delivering this content to Netflix subscribers today," the cable MSO said in a statement to Multichannel News, which broke the story.

The enhanced content includes new Super HD and 3D video rolling across the private CDN. Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) recently cut a deal to participate with Netflix in Open Connect so its subscribers, who are also Netflix subscribers, can access the enhanced content. Netflix benefits by directly connecting with ISPs, thus saving on transit fees. This, in turn, led to TWC's complaint that Netflix was linking the enhanced video to the CDN and thus to the agreement with ISPs.

Netflix has had and continues to have a prickly relationship with ISPs who also carry their own video content.

A Netflix spokesman told the publication that Time Warner Cable can "join the many major ISPs around the world who are participating in Open Connect to reduce costs, minimize congestion and improve data delivery to enhance the consumer experience," insisting that the service "provides Netflix data at no cost to the location the ISP desires and doesn't seek preferential treatment."

Those other referenced ISPs, incidentally, include Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Fiber (which is competing with Time Warner Cable in Kansas City), Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR), Virgin Media (Nasdaq: VMED), BT (NYSE: BT), Telmex and Telus (Toronto: T.TO).

While 3D is old hat, the big selling point of the Open Connect service could be the Super HD format, which proponents say dramatically improves picture quality over 1080p full HD. It also consumes bandwidth, requiring a minimum of 5 Mbps.

For more:
- Multichannel News had this story

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