No CBS? Time Warner Cable gives out free antennas to affected customers

Consumer Reports

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In a twist that some might find ironic—many TV viewers originally switched to cable because they didn't get great over-the-air reception—Time Warner Cable is offering free basic antennas to customers affected by its blackout of CBS shows.

Both in e-mails sent to some customers and in print ads in local newspapers, the company said that customers in cities affected by the blackout could pick up a free antenna from a Time Warner Cable store. Quantities are said to be limited, so they'll apparently be available only until supplies run out. Affected areas include Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and New York City, as well as Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin, where the cable operator is blacking out channels from the Journal Broadcasting Group in a similar dispute.

In addition to free antennas, Time Warner is offering free limited-time viewing of the Starz Kids & Family premium channel, as well as a coupon for a free on-demand movie, to subscribers. You'll also be able to watch the Tennis Channel for two weeks during the U.S. Open at no additional charge if the blackout continues.

For more information about antennas and over-the air reception, read Indoor HDTV Antennas Get a Warm—But Hopefully Not Fuzzy—Reception."

Time Warner Cable has also worked out a deal with select Best Buy stores so customers can get a $20 credit toward the puchase of an in-stock antenna.

If you're an affected customer and would like to get more information about the antenna giveaway, visit the Time Warner Cable Conversations website that was set up to provide details about the program, as well as Time Warner Cable stores and participating Best Buy outlets.

—James K. Willcox

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