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NYC to have broadcast TV signals streamed to the net. Hilarity, by which I mean lawsuits, ensues.
February 14, 2012 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Aereo is a new venture that is about to start streaming live, over-the-air TV signals in NYC to your computer, tablet or smart phone for $12 per month. How, you might ask, can they do this legally??? They have developed a ultra small TV antenna and they'll be deploying many thousands of them around NYC. Each subscriber then get's their own personal antenna, and they are therefore -- at least in theory -- protected by the 2008 ruling allowing Cablevision to offer DVR services from their head end. It's good they have Barry Diller behind them to cover their legal bills! Here's another article about this in today's NYT.
posted by Dean358 (34 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, they've basically found a way to charge me $12/month for something I already get for free, then? Where do I sign up?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:46 AM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Does the service also include a guy who will, at the touch of a button under my control, start futzing with my antenna?
posted by kmz at 10:46 AM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


This seems like a total waste of bandwidth. It's already being broadcast to everyone for free. Is there no TV tuner attachment for iPads?
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 10:48 AM on February 14, 2012


Everything about this story is stupid, except for the possibility of breaking media strangleholds.
posted by DU at 10:49 AM on February 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Pretty amusing.

How about they get one 42 inch TV for each channel, they point a webcam at each one and we all join a g+ hangout together. Would that be kosher? We could all watch network tv together and complain about what is on.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why would somebody with internet watch network TV?
posted by cmoj at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


So, they've basically found a way to charge me $12/month for something I already get for free, then? Where do I sign up?

If you can already get good OTA signals, then the service isn't for you. I would assume this is for people who have trouble getting good reception (distance from towers, topography, weather, etc). And/or maybe prefer whatever the NYC selection of channels is. At my house we can't get ABC at all and the other stations sometimes go in and out. I really need to install a nice exterior antenna at some point though.
posted by kmz at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I was going to say I don't get OTA at all unless I dangle the antenna out the window. This is more useful in NYC than it seems.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:53 AM on February 14, 2012


You know, if I had any interest in watching stuff on network TV when it airs, I'd probably get this. My living room is a weird little dead zone for a clear TV signal (and cellphone reception on certain networks). If I absolutely must, I can get a channel working by screwing around with the antenna, but I've never been able to flip through without at least 4-5 dead channels.
posted by griphus at 10:53 AM on February 14, 2012


"but, but, it's TV! on your COMPUTER! so AWESOME!"
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:53 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


...unless I dangle the antenna out the window.

You have windows? Damn dude, that's posh.

Seriously, my living room has no windows.
posted by griphus at 10:54 AM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm a fan of anything that pisses off big media.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The mere existence of this service is a testament to the absurdity of copyright and rebroadcasting laws in their current form, as well as the abject failure of the television networks to effectively capitalize on the internet.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


So, they've basically found a way to charge me $12/month for something I already get for free, then?

You've got a cloud-based DVR that streams to any Internet device for free?
posted by Rock Steady at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want to watch network programming on your computer, you can do that for cheaper than $12/mo: Torrent
posted by DU at 10:56 AM on February 14, 2012


The ironic thing is that this is exactly what Cable TV was supposed to be, before it achieved near-complete regulatory capture. Only they weren't so silly as to have one antenna for each subscriber; they had one big antenna up on a hill and then distributed that signal to an entire community via coax. That way, everyone got good reception even if they were in an apartment, or lived in a valley, or whatever.

It's still a good concept, and it's a bit absurd that you can't get it without paying an absurd amount for "Basic Cable" to some conglomerate, and you can't get it on a modern IP-based device.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:56 AM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


You have windows? Damn dude, that's posh.

They even open. I get to stare at the other guy holding his antenna out the window across the air shaft.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:57 AM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


The service will cost subscribers $12 a month and will only work in the New York City.

Wait, I didn't notice that part. That definitely limits its usefulness quite a bit, though as seen above there's people in NYC who can't get OTA either.
posted by kmz at 10:57 AM on February 14, 2012


TV is so, so dead.
posted by odinsdream at 10:58 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


For now, cable companies are required to provide OTA networks in unencrypted format at a nominal price. It's called ClearQAM. Not suprisingly, cable companies are currently fighting this.

ClearQAM to a television is a better, more stable, less frustrating, less I-can't-believe-I've-settled-for-watching-TV-on-a-3"-smartphone solution than this, and likely cheaper than this (in my case I get it for $0/month, but YMMV). The cable company rep you talk to will try to convince you it doesn't exist, but if you are persistent they will eventually "find out" that it does. They are legally required to sell it to you.

If you have a coax cable but no service coming into your house, plug it into your TV and see if you get those stations. It shouldn't be on, but often it is.

I tried the OTA antenna thing, but god was that flaky. Unless you have an ideal situation (and mine should be), not recommended.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:58 AM on February 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wow, for a second I thought DVB-H was back. Wouldn't be surprised if it comes back someday in some form.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:01 AM on February 14, 2012


Everyone gets their own antenna? Why, that's revolutionary!
posted by swift at 11:03 AM on February 14, 2012


If you want to watch network programming on your computer, you can do that for cheaper than $12/mo: Torrent

"Yeah, grandma, just go to double-you double-you double-you dot pirate bay dot ... what? No pirate. Like with eyepatches. Yes. Pirate bay dot com. What? What do you mean? Did you type it into the Google bar or the address bar? The one on top, yeah. Okay now type in 'Lifetime movie of the week' in the search bar. No, that's the Google bar, the search bar on the website. Pirate Bay, that's the website. Okay, do you see the search bar on the website, not the browser. The browser is Internet Explorer, it's what you're looking at..."

...and SCENE
posted by griphus at 11:04 AM on February 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


(Wait, shit, Lifetime is a cable channel...)
posted by griphus at 11:05 AM on February 14, 2012


Man, Aereolas are awesome. Oh. What's that you say? Oh. Nevermind.
posted by symbioid at 11:08 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


You've got a cloud-based DVR that streams to any Internet device for free?

No, but I do own two televisions that get OTA signals just fine, and I use a combo of Hulu/Netflix streaming (which still costs me less than $12!) for everything else. Maybe I live in a part of the country where the OTA options aren't as rich as the ones in NYC, but I don't get the "wow" of having non-cable television on my portable electronic devices.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:12 AM on February 14, 2012


The plan is carefully constructed to avoid legal issues. By placing the antenna themselves, the viewer provides the Aereo the ability to provide them with Slingbox-like services and basically a network DVR. The courts have ruled that both of these things are legal, as long the viewer is participating in the process. The network DVR ruling is key here.

The key difference between downloading from a torrent or newsgroup is that Aereo appears to stream live, like a DVR in the home would, only burning the bandwidth you are actually using. Many who use things like Sickbeard, find themselves on the end of nasty note from their broadband provider.

The majority of people would simply subscribe to all the shows they like and have them available at anytime, without having to wait for for downloads.
posted by Argyle at 11:14 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pirate Bayeztv.it, that's the website

Broken out by show.

But your general point still remains. Yes, I agree that you can either use a computer or the computer will use you. Program or be programmed.
posted by DU at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2012


I was just about to buy a Slingbox to watch the Giants games next season. Now, I can sign up for this shiz! This is great for NY area sports fans who live out of town. I wonder if they will go to other markets just for this reason.
posted by jstef at 11:17 AM on February 14, 2012


Now you can claim not to own a tv and still catch all your favorite shows!
posted by drezdn at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, Aereolas are awesome. Oh. What's that you say? Oh. Nevermind.

Wait, I take it all back. If Aereo named its portable antenna the "Aereola" I'd sign up in a jiffy. Especially if I could get transmissions from David Bowie.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:20 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is an interesting idea that probably nobody will use.

I do wish I could get better OTA reception from where I am in Brooklyn, but it just will never happen, I can sometimes get channel 13 but I do have reliable reception to all manner of crazy high-numbered channels that are all not in English. When I had line-of-sight to a few of the channels, it was amazing. Seeing things that are uncompressed was like watching blu-ray versus old DVDs. Time Warner compresses the living fuck out of everything so they can have 900 channels worth of Sports!, and even then they can't ever fucking deliver a bitstream to my set top without it cutting out every few minutes.

It isn't even that I just have poor signal quality in my lines, I have pristine nice wires all the way from their junction box. And my Docsis 3 modem will download stuff at 53mbps all day long over that same line without ever a dropped packet.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:30 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clearly, this is a good idea....
posted by ph00dz at 12:14 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


TV stations predictably sue Aereo over antenna-to-internet streaming plans
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on March 1, 2012


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