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Netflix is withholding high-quality content to push Open Connect initiative, says Time Warner Cable

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Netflix Headquarters 4
Netflix Headquarters 4

Last week Netflix announced it would be delivering streaming 3D video and even higher-quality HD content via ISPs that were participating in its Open Connect initiative — but Time Warner Cable is crying foul. In a statement to Multichannel News, the cable operator contends that "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 statement goes on to say that "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."

At issue is the higher data rates of both streaming 3D and what Netflix calls "Super HD" video. The only way to deliver this content reliably, Netflix says, is to hook elements of its content delivery network directly into ISPs, getting the content closer to the end user and avoiding possible network congestion. Time Warner, however, seems to think its network is more than capable of handling the heavier data streams on its own. Despite the cable operators protestations, Multichannel News does report that Time Warner is in discussions with Netflix to become an Open Connect partner — though it's not yet clear what terms would be required to strike such an arrangement.