You may have heard about Aereo, the start-up broadcast networks are just kind of hoping goes away. Well, it’s not: It’s already in Boston, New York, and Atlanta, and it’s about to come to Houston, Dallas, and Miami.
For those unfamiliar, Aereo is pretty simple. You pay them eight bucks a month and, in return, you get control of a teeny tiny antenna roughly the size of a dime, and a cloud-based DVR. Say you’re going to be out of town when the game is on; you just set Aereo to record the game and you’re able to access that DVR through anything that can connect to the Internet, really.
It’s limited only to stuff you can pick up on broadcast; anything cable-based will have to be recorded at the source. But for broadcast shows it’s a pretty interesting service, and it’s expanding onto new platforms all the time.
The main question will be how the broadcast networks will react. They were so angry about the idea that people could watch their programming on a computer, since nobody told them HDTV antennas exist for computers, that CBS and Fox actually threatened to black out New York City and tried to sue Aereo out of existence.
As you might have guessed, that strategy failed miserably, in part because they’ve so far failed to explain how renting an antenna and a DVR is any different from buying the same tools yourself. Unspoken in all this is the fact that broadcast networks and cable companies alike are beginning to sweat about Aereo destroying their one key advantage: Sports.
Cord-cutting is slowly gaining traction, but the biggest roadblock is the fact that if you want to get your sports streamed to you, it’s a freaking mess. Aereo, however, cuts through that mess. True, you can only sign up for the service if you live in the broadcast area and have a credit card billed to that area. On the other hand, Aereo can’t be held responsible for what, precisely, people do with the tools they rent, either.
Hey, at least they haven’t installed ad-skip. Yet. In the meantime, Miami gets Aereo September 2nd, Houston September 16th, and Dallas September 23rd.