Barry Diller and his IAC outfit are among the backers at the new Aereo venture, which will stream the New York TV stations’ signals live to web users for $12 a month–a service that “pries over-the-air broadcast television out of that closed system,” as Diller said of cable and satellite operators in the NY Times, and even offers an online DVR.
Aereo plans to expand beyond New York, redistributing broadcast signals to web users–assuming it doesn’t run into a legal wall in the process.
Last year, Ivi TV offered a similar service, but was halted by a federal judge after the broadcasters and content providers sued.
According to Brian Stelter at the NY Times, “Aereo says that by setting up antenna arrays, it is wholly different.”
As my colleague Todd Spangler put it:
Aereo’s service is based on dime-size antennas. In New York, these are housed in giant arrays somewhere in Brooklyn, which receive over-the-air TV signals and transcode them in real time for delivery to Apple iPhones and iPads and other devices, without the need for a set-top box.
The company’s legal justification: Each antenna is dedicated to an individual Aereo subscriber, so the service isn’t subject to the same retransmission laws that pay-TV operators are.
We shall see how it plays out.