Media

Time Warner Cable says Netflix is holding Super HD & 3D content hostage

Time Warner Cable isn’t happy about Netflix’s new “Open Connect” initiative, a separate network ISPs can use to pull data from the streaming video service.

Why? Well, it has something to do with Netflix implying that TWC’s network isn’t good enough to provide 1080p video streams and 3D content. Allow me to explain.

Currently, the Netflix pulls a majority of its data through commercial content delivery networks, which are optimized for a variety of data from multiple sources. The new Open Connect network, which Netflix debuted in June, would optimize the flow of Netflix-only video data through a new network that ISPs can build into their own services. And considering that Netflix accounts for nearly a third of all video streaming in the country, the video service said it makes financial sense to provide its own Open Connect network, just as YouTube has done in the past. Also, Open Connect means lots of customers will stay happy because their Netflix service will be more reliable.

And to get ISPs on board with this change, Netflix said it will only provide 3D content and 1080p high-definition videos (dubbed Super HD) to customers who subscribe to an ISP that uses Netflix’s Open Connect standard. So basically, that means major ISPs not using Open Connect (TWC, Comcast, or FiOS) look like the bad guys, or at the very least, become the reason why you can’t get the highest resolution and 3D movies.

“While they call it ‘Open Connect,’ Netflix is actually closing off access to some of its content while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs,” TWC said in a statement to Multichannel News. “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.”

TWC’s standards might be good enough to carry the higher-quality video streams, which require transferring more data than regular video streams, but it isn’t good enough for Netflix. The streaming video company also denies TWC’s claims that it wants special treatment.

“OpenConnect provides Netflix data at no cost to the location the ISP desires and doesn’t seek preferential treatment,” Netflix said in a statement to VentureBeat. “We hope TimeWarner will join the many major ISPs around the world who are participating in Open Connect to reduce costs, better minimize congestion and improve data delivery to enhance the consumer experience.”

Plenty of ISPs have already jumped on the Open Connect bandwagon, including Cablevision, Virgin Media, British Telecom, and Google Fiber. My guess is that TWC and the others will soon jump on board as well, but obviously some of them aren’t happy about it.

Hostage image via val lawless/Shutterstock

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