Fox vs. Time Warner: What to Do When Your Screen Turns Black

Fox is ready to flip the switch and cut off some Time Warner customers in a little more than 30 hours, according to a report today from Bloomberg. News Corp. COO Chase Carey apparently told employees in an internal memo that the company is unlikely to reach an agreement with Time Warner over higher licensing fees for Fox TV channels. Earlier today, Time Warner had signaled that it was open to sending the dispute to arbitration in an effort to avoid any blackouts on Jan. 1.

News Corp. and Time Warner are in a stand-off about licensing fees for the right to carry Fox programming on Time Warner’s cable network. Fox wants a dollar per cable subscriber, but Time Warner only wants to pay 30 cents. With negotiations coming down to the wire, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at alternatives to get your sports, House and Bones fix. Here’s where to turn if Fox goes through with its threats:

Hulu.com is carrying pretty much any scripted show that’s airing on Fox, including House, Bones, Fringe, Dollhouse and 24 as well as the Wanda Sykes Show. However, most episodes only find their way online seven days after their original air date. The same shows are also available for free at Fox.com.

iTunes sells single episodes as well as season passes of most Fox shows. A single episode of House currently costs you $1.99 in SD and $2.99 in HD. A season pass sets you back around $40 and $60, respectively.

Rabbit ear antennas are a great way to keep Fox on your tube even if you’re a Time Warner customer — and maybe even rethink your cable subscription while you’re at it. Chances are your local Fox station is available for free over the air without any of the white static we used to see before the DTV transition. The FCC’s DTV web site not only tells you the channel number in question, but it also has a handy map widget to check the strength of Fox’s  signal in your area.

Sports bars are unfortunately pretty much the only way to go if you want to catch the AT&T Cotton Bowl or the NFC Wild Card Game without resorting to Chinese P2P clients or hunting down sports retransmissions on Justin.tv or Ustream.com. Sportsbars.com and Sportstavern.com can help you find bars in your neighborhood.

Where are you going to turn if Fox disappears from Time Warner cable on Jan. 1? DirecTV? Hulu? Let us know in the comments!

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