There seems to be a buzz in the air around New York City recently and cable/satellite providers aren’t happy about it. The internet-powered television service, Aereo, allows users to enjoy basic programs for an incredibly small cost and has thrived despite a growing number of lawsuits. Companies such as Cablevision contend that this alternative to their offerings violates certain copyrights and contracts. Aereo argues that since their units include small antennas, the analog signal they pick up is free over the airwaves and not breaking any laws. Aereo, which is backed by media executive Barry Diller, plans to grow their service area over the next few months including major cities such as Washington D.C., Boston, and Chicago.
The appeal to Aereo over major cable and satellite providers lies in the cost. While major companies have bills around $75/m, Aereo only costs around $8/m. Although it does feature a smaller amount of channels. To compensate, they also offer a DVR service for a small additionally fee so users may record their favorite programs while watching others. With apps available on PCs, Apple products, and coming soon to Android platforms, the backlash from Cablevision and Verizon is to be expected. While it may inhibit these companies’ opportunities to grow their own business, a federal Judge in New York has determined that while questionable, Aereo is not violating any previous decrees.
Truthfully, you can’t blame the big tv providers. Since Direct TV has its own wars to wage against Fios and Optimum. Aereo is smart to throw their own hat in the ring, albeit with a fairly interesting wrinkle. Major cable/satellite providers are already viewed in a fairly negative light which would automatically place Aereo as the man throwing rocks at the throne. I have a lot of respect for any company that says “we can do what you do, but on a smaller scale and for less money”. There is a lot of opportunity for growth here, after all who wouldn’t want a cheaper alternative to receive relatively similar services?