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Time Warner Cable, Netflix at odds over 'Super HD,' 3D

In order to get higher-quality HD visuals and 3D content through Netflix, cable providers must sign up with Netflix's Open Connect. And Time Warner Cable doesn't like that.


Time Warner Cable and Netflix are reportedly talking to each other about partnering on the streaming provider's content delivery network (CDN), but the cable provider isn't too pleased about the service.

Speaking to Multichannel in an interview published yesterday, a Time Warner Cable spokesperson criticized Netflix for only delivering its higher-quality high-definition service, Super HD, and 3D videos to customers whose cable providers have signed up with Netflix's Open Connect.

"While they call it Open Connect, Netflix is actually closing off access to some of its content while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs," the spokesperson told Multichannel. "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."

Netflix's Open Connect is a free service that allows ISPs to directly connect their networks with the streaming provider's CDN. By doing so, Netflix can eliminate third-party CDNs that deliver its videos to ISPs, thus saving the company money. Netflix also argues that Open Connect will improve video delivery to customers.

That improvement to video delivery allows Netflix to offer its Super HD programming -- a higher-quality 1080p -- and 3D to customers.

Several television service providers, including Cablevision, Google Fiber, and others, currently participate in Open Connect. Time Warner Cable, however, has been the most outspoken about the service, saying that Netflix's higher-quality videos can be -- and should be -- delivered without Open Connect.

Still, according to Multichannel, the companies are in talks for Time Warner Cable to sign up with Open Connect. There is no cost to cable providers to sign up for Netflix's offering.

CNET has contacted Netflix for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.