Friday, September 14, 2007

No More Nebraska Games on TV

Get your attention? Well, settle down. That hasn’t happened yet. But it could.

It’s been almost a year since KETV-7 pulled its HD signal off of Cox Communications’ lineup. That means you won’t be watching NU vs. USC Saturday in HD on Cox’s system. But you can – for now – still watch the game on KETV’s analog signal on Cox channel 9. And if the two entities don’t come to an agreement by Sept. 30 KETV plans to pull its analog signal from Cox, too.

If KETV does go missing from Cox, you’ll have options if another Huskers football game is picked up by ABC (of which KETV is an affiliate) this season, and you happen to want to see it.

To get the game free over the air, whether analog or HD, you’ll have to get an antenna or an HD converter box. If you don’t want to hassle with that, you can’t subscribe to other cable providers, such as the Dish Network or Direct TV, which carry KETV’s analog and HD signals.

But hopefully we won’t all have to head down to Radio Shack for a set of rabbit ears. Hopefully, KETV and Cox can work out their differences. The differences? Well, it’s really just one difference: KETV thinks it should be paid for its broadcast signals, especially the HD signal, which cost the station millions to create. On the other hand, Cox thinks it shouldn’t have to pay for those signals.

“Negotiations have resumed, and they had been stalled for months,” Sarah Smith, general manager of KETV, said this week. “So my interpretation is that our issue to potentially pull the analog signal brought Cox back to the table, which is encouraging to me.

“I am told that we are exchanging offers back and forth and we’re further than we’ve ever been, so I’m encouraged that we will reach an agreement.”

Because of proprietary rules, KETV and the other broadcast stations in Omaha cannot discuss any agreements they may or may not have with Cox to carry their signals. KMTV, for instance, was the most recent Omaha station to tangle with Cox. KMTV, the local CBS affiliate, pulled its HD signal from Cox before the two – presumably – came to a monetary agreement that both were happy with. Now KMTV’s analog and HD signals are carried by Cox.

“We’re hopeful that we’re going to reach an agreement shortly, and we’re pretty confident we will,” said Summer Miller Widhalm, public affairs manager at Cox in Omaha.

Widhalm would not say whether or not any of the other Omaha stations are compensated by Cox to carry their analog and HD signals. Why? Yep, “it’s proprietary.”

“Our position with broadcast is that’s something that you can receive for free, so we don’t know why if you’re a cable subscriber, why you’d have to pay for it,” Widhalm said.

“With all the broadcast stations you can receive those all for free with an antenna. So if I’m a cable subscriber and you’re not a cable subscriber, why should I have to pay extra as a cable subscriber for something you’re getting for free? Because we would have to pass that on to the customers (by raising their fees).”

Interestingly, Widhalm said, “We (Cox) don’t charge for our HD signals – those are all free.”

Hmmm, I suppose that might be true. However, you have to subscribe to Cox’s coveted digital tier to get to access those HD channels on their system.

Says KETV’s Smith: “The consumers out there have been led to believe that those entities (the other Omaha TV stations) are not being compensated by Cox, either. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that those entities did come to the table and negotiate with Cox and both got up from the table and had a deal, so they must have both felt good about it. That’s all we’re asking for, a fair deal.”


Dingbat said...

I can't believe KETV would allow that to happen. They'd be losing a couple hundred thousand viewers who subscribe to Cox.

I am rooting for Cox to come out on top.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, the four most popular channels on Cox Cable are: KETV, WOWT, KMTV and KPTM. Cox isn't paying anything for these, so why charge us for it?

Anonymous said...

I am sooooooo glad I don't have Cox Cable....

KETV is greedy, greedy, greedy said...

Dingbat, I'm with you. Let's hope Cox comes out on top.

Leave it to some greedy beancounter at KETV/Hearst-Argyle to pull the signal during football season as "leverage". Fine. Let them pull their signal.

I just feel sorry for the person answering the phone at KETV when drunken folks start calling the station repeatedly because they can't watch their beloved Cornhuskers!

Six months from now when KETV's ratings are in the crapper (really, how many folks are going to pull out rabbit ears just to watch the KETV newscasts), KETV should be more than ready to provide its signal to Cox for free.

Anonymous said...

First off Cable converters do not have a antenna input like Satelite boxes do.

CoxHD is free but you do have subscribe to digital cable. If you don't like you can get rabbit ears and pickup only the local HD channels

Cox is charged by program providers(ESPN,TNT,etc) so technically the local HD if free

Anonymous said...

6:24pm says First off Cable converters do not have a antenna input like Satelite boxes do.

That's true, but many higher-end TVs have more than one input built in.

If you view the cable box via the component or s-video input, you can connect your rabbit ears to your TV's regular antenna input.

Then just switch back and forth with the TV remote.

Or, if your TV doesn't offer this, buy an two-input switch (often called an A-B switch) at Radio Shack. It's a relatively cheap investment. Heck, let's start a grass-roots protest and everone mail your receipt for a two-input switch to KETV and ask them to reimburse you for your trouble!

Anonymous said...

After Saturday night's performance on the field; who would want to watch the Huskers?

Anonymous said...

It was great to watch the Huskers in HD..It allowed me to see perfectly clear how horrible they are..

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway that Z92 could stream TnT in HD on Cox? That would be awesome!

Anonymous said...

Cox Omaha doesn't have local radio stations on tv like some other cox areas do.

Anonymous said...

Well, if they don't start playing better, the title of this says it all!! Better get used to Rosey not knowing the score or who's got the ball....................

Anonymous said...

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