Depending on your point of view, ivi TV is either a pirate operation that should be shut down by the courts or the future of television in the broadband environment. And while litigation is pending, the company has added Chicago as its fourth market.
ivi announced that 12 Chicago broadcast channels have been added to its service, which it claims is and “onlinecable system.” Along with signals from Seattle, New York and Los Angeles, ivi now offers 65 on-air broadcast channels to its broadband subscribers.
“ivi TV continues to scale and rapidly roll-out new markets and deliver to new devices because we don’t have to send a truck out to drill holes in consumers’ homes and install clunky set top boxes,” said Todd Weaver, founder and CEO of ivi TV.
While ivi claims to operate under rules applicable to cable TV systems, it differs greatly from traditional cable/satellite/telco multi-channel systems in that it does not limit distribution to a single DMA. As ivi TV rolls out new markets, the channels it includes from each respective market are available to all ivi TV subscribers, regardless of where they presently reside within the US, the company said. It claims to be leading the parade as consumers “cut the cord” and replace their cable subscription with broadband as their only video service.
“It’s a little poetic that our next market to include is Philadelphia, Comcast’s hometown. Despite spending millions of dollars lobbying DC in hopes to merge with NBC Universal, the proposed merger is increasingly being questioned and was just labeled as ‘detrimental’ for its impact on consumers and competition by Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, who is singularly the most powerful voice in Congress on telecom policy. Last week, ivi met with Rockefeller’s office, and many other lawmakers, in addition to the FCC to voice our concern about Comcast’s anti-competitive behavior in the marketplace. If the merger is approved, the FCC must include enforceable measures to prevent Comcast from monopolizing the content marketplace, limiting access to content for its on-line competitors, and further extorting consumers,” charged Weaver.
Still pending are the court cases that ivi and broadcasters have filed against each other. Online competitor FilmOn was recently shut down by court order, but ivi claims it is operating differently and within the US copyright law.