Aereo provides a service where for only $8 a month you can stream broadcast television to your PC or mobile device. Aereo uses a bunch of souped-up versions of the good old TV antenna to capture broadcast television signals and then streams those signals over the internet to its subscribers.
ABC, NBC, CBS and other major networks have taken Aereo to court in attempt to shut them down several times in the past. In previous court appearances on the matter Aereo has asserted that over-the-air broadcast signals are free. So far the courts have agreed with this.
Not wanting to accept the lower courts decisions ABC, NBC, CBS and other major networks filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday requesting they stop Aereo declaring that Aereo is violating copyright laws.
While Aereo pays the broadcasters nothing to re-broadcast these signals cable companies are paying billions to networks for the rights to re-distribute the content. Broadcasters are concerned over losing these billions of dollars.
If you recall on June 12, 2009 the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act went into full effect. This allowed broadcasters to cease broadcasting analog signals requiring everyone to have a method of receiving digital signals. This means a having a conversion box, available at retailers or as supplied by cable and satellite companies. Most people opted for the box from providers. The conversion was the result of obsolete technology. A side benefit for business was that the increase in subscribers represented an increase in revenue for broadcasters.
Broadcasters are fearful of losing this revenue. In their filing with the Supreme Court they claim that Aereo presents “a direct assault” on their main revenue source.
With Aereo, HuluPlus and NetFlix together adding up to under $24 a month this could represent a major change on how the public watches television. Now if you could only purchase access to HBO Go, Showtime Anytime and other premium services through these online providers wouldn’t that be something?