Thursday, August 08, 2013

Internet TV Broadcaster Aereo Continues Growth Despite Angering Networks

Tiny antennas causing big problems for broadcasters. 
The internet broadcasting startup that the TV networks love to hate is expanding.
Aereo is placing its tiny antennas in Dallas, Houston, and Miami in September. The cloud-based DVR service pushes free, over-the-air television content to your mobile device, browser or Roku box. Aereo also saves programs for later viewing through its cloud-based DVR service, so if you miss Judge Judy's verdict, you can rewind and watch it while you wait for the bus or pretend to work.
For $8 a month (officially the magic price point for any streaming video service), Aereo gives you unlimited streaming with 20 hours of DVR storage. The company essentially leases out tiny antennas that grab free over-the-air TV content, then pushes it through the internet to your devices. Predictably, this has raised the ire of the networks. A group of broadcasters sued Aereo in 2012, claiming the company infringed on their copyrights, and that streaming broadcast content qualified as a "public performance." The main issue is that cable and satellite companies pay the networks and their affiliates fees to rebroadcast their transmissions, and Aereo was effectively skirting those fees.
The courts determined that streaming a broadcast was not a public performance and did not constitute copyright infringement. Good news for Aereo, not so good for the networks who are trying to navigate an increasingly confusing television broadcast landscape.
Aereo will be available in Miami Sept. 2, Houston Sept. 16, and Dallas Sept. 23. No dates yet on the next round of lawsuits, though.

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