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CBS Blocks Time Warner Cable Internet Users from Full Episodes Online

The TV war between CBS and Time Warner Cable boiled over into online video Friday, as the Eye retaliated against the operator by blocking all TW Cable broadband customers from accessing full episodes on CBS.com and mobile apps.

CBS-owned local TV stations went dark in several Time Warner Cable markets Friday, including New York, L.A. and Dallas, and the cable operator removed Showtime and three other cable nets.

TW Cable broadband customers across the MSO’s entire U.S. footprint who attempt to access content on CBS.com now see a message that the videos are unavailable.

“If Time Warner Cable is a customer’s Internet service provider, then their access to CBS full episode content via online and mobile platforms has been suspended as a result of Time Warner Cable’s decision to drop CBS and Showtime from their market,” CBS spokesman Dan McClintock said in an email. “As soon as CBS is restored on Time Warner Cable systems in affected markets, that content will be accessible again.”

Time Warner Cable, in a statement, said, “CBS has shown utter lack of regard for consumers by blocking Time Warner Cable’s customers, including our high-speed data only customers, from accessing their shows on their free website. CBS enjoys the privilege of using public owned airwaves to deliver their programming — they should not be allowed to abuse that privilege.”

Programmers engaged in disputes with pay TV ops have in the past blocked or removed free Internet videos, trying to gain leverage. In October 2010, Fox temporarily blocked Cablevision broadband subs from watching shows online via Fox.com and Hulu. Last summer, Viacom pulled dozens of free, full-length eps from its websites during a carriage fight with DirecTV, a move that affected all Internet users.

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