Aereo Under Attack By Broadcast Networks

Sections: Streaming, TVs

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Aereo is a pretty interesting-sounding little service that allows you to stream over-the-air broadcast TV to your wireless devices, for $12 a month. The service is available exclusively in NYC at the moment, but intends to expand to virtually all major markets by this time next year.

The company’s future is in jeopardy, though. Aereo uses their microantennas to capture local channels right off the air, and therein lies the rub. Their customers are apparently not counted by Nielsen ratings, and that means trouble for the networks.

“This is really the first credible attempt at cracking open this completely closed ecosystem,” Aereo’s founder, Chet Kanojia, said in an interview.

The broadcasters have fought back. Earlier this year, they filed lawsuits against Aereo, claiming the start-up was violating copyright law. If they win, Aereo likely would be forced to shut down.

But last week, Aereo won a key legal victory when a federal judge sided with the start-up.

The networks were almost certainly required to sue by their content providers for unlicensed re-transmission, which is probably the next stop on the lawsuit train. It’s interesting that they’re worried about Nielsens, since virtually every household in the US was excluded from those ratings until they started tracking DVRs, resulting in the deaths of a great many amazing shows, especially since coverage of non-nuclear families is quite poor in their sample.

While I agree with the pundits that there is very little market for their service — the $150 you’d spend on Aereo in a year will buy you a decent antenna and an HTPC tuner card — the industry is very interested in sterilizing to prevent Son of Aereo, which will undoubtedly be doing the same with cable services, or even starting totally online based cable companies. It’s going to take a lot of lawyers, and a lot of bribes campaign donations for one side to win over the other, and this is not a battle I see being finished this year, or this decade.

Via: [Huffington Post]

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