Aereo, the controversial streaming antenna service, has been fighting a lot of battles in the courtroom, but that hasn’t prevented the company from preparing for the invasion of our Droid overlords. Now phones, tablets, phablets, and anything that runs the Android 4.2 operating system can stream broadcast television over the internet. A public beta will commence on October 22 and, on that date, for the first time, Roku owners will be able to link their devices to the service.
Aereo is currently available in NYC, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston, and Dallas. Those interested in trying to service will be able to join for $8 a month, with the option for 60 hours of DVR storage for an additional $4 a month, with a free first month trial.
As the many cases filed by the networks continue to wind their way through the courts, the future of Aereo is somewhat uncertain. Today, a judge denied a preliminary injunction by Hearst to block Aereo’s re-transmission was denied, lending further legitimacy to the service. From the press release:
Judge Gorton concludes, “After considering the relevant factors, the Court finds that a preliminary injunction is unwarranted. Hearst has not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits nor the requisite irreparable harm and therefore it is not entitled to that ‘extraordinary and drastic remedy.’”
While in my non-lawyer estimation the company unquestionably is engaging in re-transmission — and as we saw with the CBS/Time Warner Cable war, there’s millions, and even billions of dollars at stake when it comes to that sort of thing — that battle will be decided by judges and juries, and of course, by the arguably even greater power of lobbyists and regulators. The cable industry and broadcasters are surely watching and waiting to find out if there are loopholes there that can threaten their bottom lines.