Cable Blackout leaks into the Web

News Corporation and Cablevision are still in a contract fight, and around 3 million cable subscribers in the New York area still can't watch their Fox shows like House, Glee and baseball. Of course, after last night shellacking, a baseball blackout might be a blessing in disguise for a Yankee fan.

Cable blackouts are old news, but this one has a 21st Century spin. It's creeping online.

New Corporation has also tried to block customers from watching these shows on Fox.com or Hulu.com. From the New York Times:

Julie Henderson, a News Corporation spokeswoman, said the company's actions temporarily prevented access to Fox shows on Hulu and Fox.com from the computers of Cablevision subscribers. "When we realized we were affecting non-Cablevision video subscribers, we quickly altered our position," she said.

When I moved to California (go Giants) I canceled my cable subscription. When I watch, I do it entirely online. But as cable dust-ups like the Fox-Cablevision spat begin to affect the ability to stream shows I have to wonder how much longer this can last. So's the NY Times:

The blockade is potentially bad news for users of Internet TV, because it suggests that online access should be contingent upon a monthly payment to the cable or satellite TV company that also supplies Internet access.

For now though baseball fans who are blocked out can just follow the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on twitter. Last night, he tweeted, "We're filling in the baseball void for those with Fox-Cablevision. Matt Cain pitching a beauty. SF up 3-0."

Or you can pay Major League Baseball $9.95 and watch the game online here.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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