Aereo expands to PCs


AereoBarry Diller’s Aereo TV-over-Internet service is expanding availability in its first market—NYC. Aereo is still limited to residents there, but it’s now available on additional devices including Windows laptops and PCs; and on a wider selection of web browsers including Chrome, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Previously, access was restricted to selected Apple devices such as the iPhone and the iPad, as well as the Roku streaming set-top box.

“The vast majority of American households own laptop or desktop computers–it’s only natural that we expand the universe of internet browsers that can access Aereo,” said Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia.

In New York City, there are currently 29 broadcast channels available over-­the-­air, including WABC, WNBC, WCBS, WNYW-­FOX, WPIX-­11, WNET-­PBS, and PBS Kids, NYC.GOV, NYC-­LIFE, Ion, Qubo, MundoFox, Telemundo, Azteca, Telefutura, Univision, Sinovision, NTDTV and CGN-­TV.

According to the AP, Aereo says it doesn’t expect to announce additional cities for a few more months. “It also says the service isn’t likely to be available on Android devices until late this year.”

This, as a copyright infringement suit filed by Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and others is accusing Aereo of unlawfully copying their programming and retransmitting over the Internet. Aereo insists it’s legal because customers are assigned individual antennas. Therefore, the company says, it’s similar to what viewers would get for free by installing the same equipment at home.

RBR-TVBR observation: We know of no copyright holder in the form of a TV network that allows any entity to stream their content over the internet live and delayed without permission. PCs, iPads and iPhones are not television receivers, as the FCC classifies them. Aereo is charging for this service without express permission as well. If Aereo takes off nationwide, unchecked, expect more cord-cutting. Since most newer TVs have built-in antennas/tuners that can pick up over-the-air broadcast signals, the real value of Aereo lies in its cloud-based DVR and its ability to watch content on multiple platforms (TVs, iPads, iPhones). That also threatens cable companies’ TV Everywhere efforts.