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How to Access CBS On Time Warner Cable Using a Proxy Service

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 15 comments

CBS runs a website, keepcbs.com, to remind customers what they are missing.CBS runs a website, keepcbs.com, to remind customers what they are missing.

While Time Warner Cable and CBS continue to bicker over the fee that TWC pays the nation's most popular network to carry its programming, TWC customers are blocked from viewing the nation's most popular network both on their TVs via cable as well as on their computers at CBS.com. But there's a simple solution: Don't let CBS know you're a TWC customer.

All you need is a proxy service — an Internet connection that routes your traffic through a server to obscure its origin. At least then you can watch on your computer.

MORE: Beyond Netflix: Where Your Shows Are Hiding

Proxies aren't just for watching "NCIS" and the "Big Bang Theory." They allow people who live under far-greater Internet restrictions — say, in China — to access blocked sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It's also a way for you to obscure your identity from hackers or possible government snoops.

How to set up a proxy service

There are many proxy services that offer access for free. But that's generally for basic Web access. Streaming video is data-intensive and something companies may charge an upgrade fee for.

Among proxy services, Hide My Ass is fairly popular, complete with a hat-and-sunglasses-wearing donkey mascot. HMA is a small download that's a cinch to set up on PCs and Macs. All you do is click to install and click one button to turn on the proxy. (Setting it up on iOS and Android devices is trickier and requires manual configuration.)

HMA's paid service, Pro VPN, costs $11.52 per month, although it's currently on sale for $9.99 (less if you sign up for six or 12 months). VPN also encrypts your Internet connection when you're on inherently insecure public Wi-Fi networks.

MORE: Can You Hide Anything from the NSA?

A proxy service not only gets you past the CBS censor, which blocks you based on your ISP, but also past geographic restrictions based on your country, such as the blocking of BBC iPlayer video outside of the U.K. or Hulu outside the United States. In the HMA app, just pick a proxy server in one of those countries, and you're in.

Is using a proxy legal?

There is no (U.S.) law against using a proxy server. But using it to access content that the owner restricts does violate the service's terms of use. "Unless we give you permission, you agree not to access the Services using any interface other than ours. We may deny permission to link to the Services for any reason in our sole discretion," the CBS Interactive terms of use state under "Acceptable Use."
"So — they have the right to say 'you can't watch our stuff' for any reason. That's pretty clear," said Jeremy Toeman, CEO of digital TV guide service Dijit Media and digital TV industry veteran.

"Downton Abbey" and "Doctor Who" fans from abroad, take note: The BBC is even clearer. "You may not access, view and/or listen to certain parts of BBC Content (such as video or live television services) using BBC Online Services if you are outside the UK," its terms of use state.

All that said, there are no actual criminal penalties for violating a company's terms of use. And a major corporation trying to sue one person for violation of its terms probably wouldn't work or be worth the trouble. Furthermore, you are anonymous since you're using a proxy to access website. 


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  • 0 Hide
    knightmike , August 12, 2013 12:43 PM
    So is TWC blocking cbs.com or is cbs.com blocking TWC internet subscribers?
  • 1 Hide
    ram1009 , August 12, 2013 1:06 PM
    Has the world already forgotten about "off air" antennas? CBS is spewed into the ether FOR FREE!! All you need to receive all of CBS programming is a digital TV and a very basic off air antenna. Paying money to be able to view any off air signal as part of a cable or satellite package s the height of folly. All that's necessary to watch off air programming is to select the TV antenna input with the remote. How could it be any simpler?
  • 0 Hide
    lp231 , August 12, 2013 1:25 PM
    People still watch TV?!
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Hando567 , August 12, 2013 2:24 PM
    Shame on both of these companies, while they are busy acting like little children the customers of both parties are the ones who actually suffer. I wish there was another option for broadband in my area, would drop them in a heartbeat.
  • 0 Hide
    abbadon_34 , August 12, 2013 2:50 PM
    I don't see how to you be breaking a company's Terms of Service if you never agree to them.
  • 0 Hide
    knightmike , August 12, 2013 4:01 PM
    I don't see the option to download HMA. It even says on their site, "No software required.
    All you need is a web browser to use our free proxy, no third-party software is required to be downloaded."
  • 1 Hide
    Borisblade7 , August 12, 2013 6:15 PM
    You can get CBS for FREE in HD over the air. Who cares if the cable company has it or not. They dont even give you the HD CBS unless you pay more on top of what you are already paying to get a crappier version of a free channel. TLDR version: Only idiots pay for CBS or care if the cable company has it.
  • 0 Hide
    mortonww , August 12, 2013 7:41 PM
    Or buy an antenna from Wal-Mart?
  • 0 Hide
    bryonhowley , August 12, 2013 8:14 PM
    It seems like this comes up at least once a year. If it is not CBS it is another station. Personally TWC just needs to tell CBS to go Fxxx Off we will not carry your stations any more. See how fast they change there minds.
  • 0 Hide
    everygamer , August 12, 2013 8:33 PM
    I can understand if TWC is not offering CBS network TV programming, that has to do with a paid contract between the two parties.

    What I am not certain about is CBS blocking TWC customers access to cbs.com. Those customers may be within rights to sue CBS for discrimination of some sort. Internet sites such as cbs.com I don't believe are covered by contracts between cable/internet providers and CBS, its a public facing site that is likely available on the internet regardless of contracts. CBS blocking TWC customers because they didn't like how negotiations with TWC over TV content seems somewhat underhanded and in some respects unrelated, and I think makes CBS look worse than a failed contract negotiation between a TV content provider and a TV content distributor.
  • 0 Hide
    everygamer , August 12, 2013 8:35 PM
    As to the terms of use and accessing content, it describes the penalty, if you access the material in a way that breaks their terms of use, they have the right to block your access. That said, if you use a proxy, and they block it, you just use another proxy, and they have to keep blocking you. That is their only recourse.
  • -1 Hide
    SkateZilla , August 12, 2013 10:17 PM
    Wouldnt bypassing a IP Range Block intentionally via Proxy to regain access to something that's being blocked for legal reasons... be Illegal?

    Antenna's Hook to TV Turn to Local OTA CBS Channel, Problem Solved. LEGALLY.
  • 0 Hide
    phatboe , August 13, 2013 12:17 AM
    can someone please do an article on the current state of net neutrality laws and why exactly we need them. Thanks
  • 0 Hide
    COLGeek , August 13, 2013 7:10 AM
    One word...antenna.
  • 0 Hide
    Mimosa Shu , November 24, 2013 8:37 PM
    Thanks. I think CCProxy (http://www.youngzsoft.net/ccproxy/) can do this too.
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