Let us review the 3 biggest reasons that stations have with cable regarding retransmission of HDTV signals:
1. Fees - Notice TWC has yet to come up with ESPN-HD either, yet DirecTV, DISH and many other cable systems have it. Look, if your grocer stopped paying his food distributor and then he told you, "We'll sell groceries when we get them," not telling you that he owes his supplier money... You would scratch your head in amazement and find a new grocer. What sucks is that TWC is the only cable outfit in town with HDTV ability.
2. Bandwidth Integrity - Anyone claiming to be a videophile should demand this. Do you really want to accept whatever water-downed resolution TWC delivers? Already, 720p content is upconverted for you. Sure, you can change your box's output to 720p, but now you are upconverting and then downconverting, only adding to the possibilities for problems. Plus, the cable company could decide that a particular station is using too much of their cable-bandwidth capacity and compress them further.
3. Sub-Channels - So "Cable" is a multi-programming distributor that dabbles in content (like Capital News 9). But if a content producer (such as WRGB or WNYT) wants to multicast, TWC wants to reserve the right to strip it out of the signal. Should WRGB or WNYT offer 24-hour news on a sub-channel, it would directly compete with their own content product. Thus they would likely choose to strip it out.
Reasons 2 and 3 are tightly related, often referred to as "Full Data Stream or No Data Stream." As in, cable: take it all, or leave it. So far, TWC is leaving it.
Yes, the Superbowl and Grammys are getting people quite worked up and emotional. But consider the big picture, year after year. The precedents are being fought now, not later.