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Time Warner Cable offers free antennas, Best Buy credit to customers caught in CBS blackout

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Time Warner Cable is offering a last-ditch solution to customers as its blackout on CBS channels continues. Today, the company said it would distribute antennas to Time Warner Cable subscribers in four markets, allowing them to watch CBS as an over-the-air broadcast instead of through their cable boxes. "We regret that CBS has put our customers in this position by continuing to withhold its channels," it said in an email to customers, published by Variety. "We are trying to strike a balance between our desire to restore the channels as soon as possible and our responsibility to all of our customers to hold down the rising cost of TV."

Handing out antennas is a common move for cable companies; Time Warner Cable gave them to Texas subscribers last year during a local blackout. Per instructions posted online, it will offer a limited quantity in its Dallas-Ft. Worth, Los Angeles / Southern California, New York, Milwaukee, and Green Bay stores. More interestingly, it's also reached an agreement that will give any customers in those areas $20 towards an antenna at a local Best Buy. While CBS, Time Warner Cable, and the FCC have all expressed desires to get negotiations over quickly, the current blackout has already lasted three weeks, and distributing antennas isn't a reassuring sign for people who want it over soon.