Aereo offers TV-over-Internet with antennas engineered to comply with law

By on February 16, 2012, 7:30 AM

At a conference in New York on Tuesday, Aereo unveiled (PDF) plans to give Internet-capable devices the ability to watch ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC and PBS in real-time without the aid of a TV tuner.

The stations are served through an elegant yet simple HTML5-based website. As a result, Aereo should be compatible with any device which can fully support the web standard. Noteworthy devices on the compatibility list include the Kindle Fire, Roku Box, iOS and Android devices. 

Although broadcast companies offer their programming over the air for free, Aereo hopes to charge $12 per month for the service. Such a subscription may be difficult for many to swallow, but the website also offers DVR-like functionality to record shows, rewind, pause and more. The ability to receive streaming broadcast television to devices like an iPad may also be appealing enough for some to take the plunge.

Of course, even if you don't care about broadcast television, Aereo will at the very least be controversial. 

IAC CEO Barry Diller, who led a $20 million funding round, says Aereo will eventually be a “wedge” that will force the TV industry to give up the bundle: The idea is that eventually you’ll start by paying Aereo $12 a month for a bunch of TV, and add a series of channels and programs that you like on top of that. In theory, you’ll still end up paying much less than you do now.

Source: allthingsd.com

Although various precedents suggest Aereo can't legally stream live broadcast television over the Internet to millions of people, the company believes it has a clever work around -- antennas -- lots of them. The antenna arrays themselves are scattered throughout Brooklyn, New York and each array holds thousands upon thousands of micro-antennas.

The company's CEO, Chet Kanojia, seem to agree with AllThingsD that their clever antenna design was not engineered to be efficient, but rather engineered to comply with current content laws.

Aereo's rather novel approach makes certain there is an antenna for every single subscriber at any given time. By doing so, the company hopes to navigate a legal mine field that no other enterprise has managed to cross. Perhaps they will spin themselves as a long-range antenna rental service or try to qualify as a cable system in order to license content at fixed government rates -- those are just a couple of the possibilities, but it is hard to tell where Aereo may be headed. One thing is for sure though, broadcast companies will be less than pleased.

For now, Aereo will be available exclusively to subscribers in New York City beginning on March 14. The company is also offering a 30-day free trial. Aereo's FAQ can be found here for more information.




User Comments: 10

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SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I might be willing to pay that. If I want the super basic cable here its $20 a month and I get all the OTA stations a couple public service channels, and a couple shopping channels. And they are all in SD. It also doesn't come with a DVR so no record abilities. I also live right at the edge of 3 cities's OTA coverage, and as a result, I only get 1 channel OTA (with a big rooftop antenna and an amp) and reception still is not fantastic (pixelates often, occationally completely drops).

So this would be a service I could use, and its cheaper than paying for very restricted cable. But I don't think it will ever happen here, they aren't going to put up their super multi antennas in this region.

howzz1854 said:

i am on a completely different point of view. if you buy a nice $60 tuner... it'll pay itself off over the course of three months. there's no reason why they should charge for something that's meant to be free. unless all you do is watch tv on your tablet.... most people ultimately still watch it on their television. i just think it should be free.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

If I buy a tuner I still either have to buy cable tv service, or I'm still stuck to 1 channel. I have a computer connected to my HDTV so I'd still be able to watch 'tv' on my TV.

howzz1854 said:

SNGX1275 said:

If I buy a tuner I still either have to buy cable tv service, or I'm still stuck to 1 channel. I have a computer connected to my HDTV so I'd still be able to watch 'tv' on my TV.

not if you buy a over the air HD antenna to go with it. you hook up the antenna to the tuner to your computer that eventually feeds to the TV. you get roughly 30 channels in the US, out of that 10 are HD, all the major network channels. and with MCE, you can record and rewind shows.

this is why so many people are cutting cords. after broadcast channel gone HD over the air, there really isn't any reason anyone should have to pay for basic TV service.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

not if you buy a over the air HD antenna to go with it. you hook up the antenna to the tuner to your computer that eventually feeds to the TV. you get roughly 30 channels in the US, out of that 10 are HD, all the major network channels. and with MCE, you can record and rewind shows.

I don't think you read my first post. I covered the amount of channels. Not everyone lives in cities where they get tons of channels.

howzz1854 said:

my bad.. i didn't read that part.

but you might be the only customer that'll actually make sense to pay for the $20 fee for the basic channel service. for the majority of the population, i don't think it makes financial sense.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

It doesn't make sense if Aereo makes their service available here. Because that $20 for basic cable only gets me SD, which looks horrible on an HDTV larger than about 24".

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

We definitely need replacements for cable TV, but $12 for Aereo, $8 for Hulu, $10 for Netflix starts to add up. At least it's better than iTunes pay-per-show format.

brianwilson brianwilson said:

If Barry Diller has his way, you could soon be watching live TV on your iPad or other mobile device. The "Aereo" actually works by sending live Television broadcast signal to personal devices via a dedicated tiny HD antenna over the internet. I an send a video steam per viewer, and thereby circumventing legal barriers. There's no difference, because it broadcasts the media live over a personal antenna, just like a television. The service will only be available in the New York area by the time the service will be launched. There are still no comments as to when or whether the service will be branched out to other areas. But if the service is proven to be successful, the company will move other population cluster.

Guest said:

New? :-)))) www.onlinetvrecorder.com does the same since 2005

and free! all german, US and UK channels

some channels live on www.schoener-fernsehen.com (free, not even a registration)

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