Launching in March in the New York City area, a new streaming TV service will be adding another chapter in the ongoing cord-cutting saga. Called Aereo, the new start-up will offer the full choice of over-the-air TV channels to people who subscribe for a monthly $12 (€9.12) fee.
Why pay for TV stations that anyone can receive at no cost with their regular TV set? This is what Aereo’s press release says: “Aereo provides an easy to use, proprietary remote antenna and PVR that consumers can use to access network television on web-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets, and through internet TV solutions such as Apple TV and Roku. Aereo’s members will have access to all of the major networks including CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, CW and PBS, as well as other local channels, and will have the ability to store up to 40 hours of programming through their Remote PVR. No cords or cable required.”
In order to achieve these features, Aereo has installed an array of miniature antennas, which pick up the free-to-air signals from all local broadcasters. When people subscribe they each get a single antenna dedicated to them plus a remote PVR attached to it. Via their broadband connection, they will be able to access antenna and PVR.
“Aereo is the first potentially transformative technology that has the chance to give people access to broadcast television delivered over the internet to any device, large or small, they desire. No wires, no new boxes or remotes, portable everywhere there’s an internet connection in the world – truly a revolutionary product,” said Barry Diller, who is one of the investors of the company that was founded by Chet Kanojia, CEO.
Aereo claims that using its technology they can avert copyright claims from broadcasters. In the past, US broadcasters and studios sued streaming TV services such as Zattoo, FilmOn and Zediva with more or less success.
On paper, combining Aereo with a Roku or Apple TV device makes sense. This will open up all available over-the-top services and combining Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes with mainstream broadcast services is the perfect recipe for cord-cutting.
The technology behind might perhaps be clever, but it is also very complicated and its only function is to avert copyright issues with the broadcasters. And, yes, the customer does not need to buy another box.
But do we really need to invest in such advanced technology? Hybrid set-tops combining free-to-air signals with OTT content, already exist. Now all one needs do is to stream this content from the STB to other devices, such as tablets, smartphones, laptops etc. And a separate set-top might even not be needed: a number of hybrid smart TV sets from Samsung are already capable of streaming the TV signal to other Samsung devices, such as Galaxy tablets and phones.