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Aereo Provides A Glimpse At The Future Of TV

Aereo Provides A Glimpse At The Future Of TV

Aereo is doing for broadcast television what Tivo did for digital video recorders and Netflix did for movies. It is taking a decades old business model and moving it into the 21st century. Thanks to a couple of big court wins and the 2008 Supreme Court Cablevision ruling, Aereo appears to have the freedom to move forward with its plans to offer broadcast TV over the Internet.

What exactly is Aereo and why should you care? Aereo takes what is offered for free over the airwaves and streams it over the Internet to consumers. Normally, broadcasters are able to control the rebroadcasting of the shows using licensing and copyright law regarding public performances. This is how network offerings appear on cable and why there have been numerous carriage disputes about rebroadcasting rights and fees. Aereo built its business from the ground up to get around these limitations.

The 2008 Cablevision ruling set a precedent that consumers have a right to record and watch content how and when they want so long as a single copy of a show is made for each individual household. This negated the public performance aspect of existing copyright law. Aereo took this concept and applied it to broadcast television by having server racks containing thousands of tiny individual antennas. When a customer wants to record and watch a show a single antenna is assigned to them and a single copy of the show is stored on Aereo servers. While this may leave Aereo in the clear legally, if cases keep going in their favor, why should consumers care.

Much of the service industry is based of personal convenience and Aereo's offering is no different. If you live in New York City, currently the only location which has the service, and either don't have great reception or travel a lot then this could offer some benefit. Aereo can be used to record a major sporting event or the nightly news to watch when you get home late from work. Regardless of the reason, Time and place shifting broadcast television for free or a nominal expense is yet another option for busy individuals and families to watch what they want when they want.

Image by: Aereo