, Port Arthur, Texas

April 25, 2013

Comcast "free trial" offer not flying

David Coleman
The Port Arthur News


For fans wanting to watch the Astros and Rockets coverage on Comcast SportsNet Houston, there is hope. CSN Houston announced that it was offering a “FreeView,” a free trial of its programming offered to all the major TV service providers.

The free trial of the channel that only 40 percent of Houston-area households currently can see begins immediately and lasts until May 31. CSN Houston is currently the home of the Astros, the Rockets, the Houston Dynamo and many high school and college games, including broadcasts of Lamar sports from time to time.

"We understand that fans have been frustrated as we work through our negotiations with providers and have already collected more than 100,000 petitions for our network," CSN Houston President and General Manager Matt Hutchings said in a statement released Thursday. "While those negotiations must continue, our leadership team feels that this next stretch of games for the Rockets, Astros and Dynamo should be made available to the fans.

This free trial comes with a sizable loss that our network will take on, but we feel that it is the right thing to do. We are hopeful that our affiliate partners at DirecTV, AT&T, Dish, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable and others across our region will take us up on this unprecedented offer and make it available to their customers."

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the major cable providers are taking the bait. A DirecTV customer service representative told The News on Thursday that there were no plans to air the free trial at that time. Reports on Twitter and on Astros fan sites like The Crawfish Boxes also confirmed that AT&T Uverse, DISH Network, Cox Communications and Grande Communications were also not planning on carrying the free trial.

Time Warner Cable could not be reached for comment on whether it would air the free trial.

CSN Houston is a new regional sports network that is owned in part by the Astros, the Rockets and Comcast. It launched on Oct. 1, 2012 and serves a five-state area including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.