Barry Diller’s Aereo, a service that lets users watch live broadcast TV on their iPhones, tablets and computers, has expanded from New York City to 29 counties across New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The company is also kicking off a major billboard campaign in the New York area.
Aereo’s subscription service lets users sign up for $1 a day or $8 month to watch over-the-air TV on their mobile devices and to record shows for later viewing. The technology involves assigning two dime-sized antennas to each subscriber which send the TV from an Aereo facility.
At CES in Las Vegas this January, Aereo also announced it would roll out to 22 new markets in coming months. The decision to go live in the new areas around New York City seems to be the first step in the planned expansion.
To publicize the service, Aereo said it will advertise on New York City billboards as well as major transit hubs and commuter rail services in the region.
Aereo is still defending a lawsuit from all of the major TV networks, which contend it has infringed copyrights on their programming. After Aereo launched and was taken to court by TV broadcasters, the company fended off a preliminary injunction largely on the basis of legal precedent in the New York jurisdiction. The broadcasters have since made an expedited appeal of the injunction denial and a decision should be coming in the next couple months. Aereo counters that its personal antenna system means the transmissions are private and within the law.
In December, Aereo signed a deal with Bloomberg TV to be the first network it would offer on its service.
“Today, consumers are tethered to expensive and outdated technology that limits how, when and where they can enjoy their own television programming,” said Aereo’s CEO Chet Kanojia in a release. “Aereo’s technology now lets us provide simplicity, ease of use and rational pricing – three things that have all but disappeared for the consumer.”
The list of counties that can now tune into Aereo include: New York’s Bronx, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Sullivan, Orange, Dutchess; Connecticut’s Fairfield County; Pennsylvania’s Pike County; New Jersey’s Bergen, Warren, Union, Sussex, Somerset, Passaic, Ocean, Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Hunterdon, Hudson, and Essex.
RBR-TVBR observation: Aereo is obviously confident they will ultimately win in court against the broadcasters—at least in the first rulings. If Aereo does win, it will be appealed to the Supreme Court. By the time they rule (if they decide to hear the case), Aereo will be nationwide and that much harder to shut down.