Aereo, the controversial new live television on web-enabled devices, has launched in New York City, offering new subscribers a 90 day free trial.
The launch comes at a time when the fledgling service is the subject of a number of lawsuits. Earlier this month, two groups of broadcasters filed two separate federal lawsuits against the company, claiming that Aereo will infringe their copyrights. In response, Aereo has filed a countersuit against the broadcasters.
Aereo’s technology offers New Yorkers the ability to watch live HD TV online. New members will receive a 90-day free trial followed by a fee of $12 (€9.2) a month.
Membership includes access to a remote antenna that is used to access over 20 broadcast channels, 40 hours of remote DVR storage and usage on up to five devices.
Aereo is launching with compatibility on web-enabled iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad, Roku, AppleTV and MacBook, with Android support coming soon.
“Technology is changing rapidly and consumers have embraced innovation that simplifies access to entertainment. People no longer want to be tethered to their TVs or cable boxes. Consumers are demanding more flexibility and value; Aereo delivers just that. This truly groundbreaking technology will usher in a new era of choice in the broadcast marketplace, making the consumers the ultimate winners,” said founder and CEO Chet Kanojia.
Broadband TV Views. Although it is difficult to judge from this side of the pond, we believe Aereo stands a very good change of winning this dispute.
As the company claims, it does no more than receive the free-to-air channels and make them available via web-enabled devices. Consumers can do this at home, but now there is a service that does this for them.
The case bears some resemblance to an earlier round of lawsuits around network PVRs, where a cable operator is offering its customers a remote PVR. Cablevision, the cabler who pioneered this technology, has won and now operators in the US will start to roll out such PVR services.