'Aereo' To Test Copyright Law With Internet-Streaming TV Service [Multichannel News]
A new startup company backed by Barry Diller has launched in the New York City area and proposes to offer a novel way to watch broadcast television. Aereo will give customers access to live programming from FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS over the Internet.
The service also includes Internet-based DVR functionality and a guide. It will be available for viewing on phones, tablets, and connected TVs, as well as a few devices like Roku and Apple TV. It will also involve a monthly subscription that costs a bit more than Netflix.
But how is Aereo getting around the legal challenges that are sure to start popping up for offering this type of broadcast programming over the Internet? Other startups have attempted to stream over-the-air television, only to find themselves on themselves on the losing side of lawsuits launched by broadcasters.
Aereo's headquarters is currently housing thousands of thumb-sized TV antennae – one for each Aereo subscriber. The company, with full expectation that broadcasters won't be happy about having their channels streamed over the Internet outside the retransmission consent process, plans to argue that because customers are technically watching TV via their own over-the-air antenna there is no difference whether they're streaming the channels or watching them on their own TV.
If Aereo's strategy is successful against an expected challenge, one wonders whether traditional multichanel providers could do the same thing.