Aereo: Innovating Cloud Storage Or Stealing Cable?


Broadcast Networks Upset Over New Online Service

Surprise, surprise—television goes wireless with Aereo. But unlike other online streaming services, Aereo doesn’t collect seasons of shows for you to watch on your computer. Aereo streams whatever’s currently airing on your TV to a mobile device. This means that on the device of your choosing, you can watch live broadcasts, the 5 o’clock news, and basically any show that’s broadcasting on TV at that given time.

Viewers are excited because, now, they don’t have to rush home to make it in time for the game. On the other hand, major broadcast networks are less than thrilled. Aereo faces serious accusations of copyright infringement and is set for a Supreme Court trial in April.

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How Aereo Works

Areo packs the power of a three-foot satellite into an antenna the size of a penny. Since the antennae are so small, Aereo can make, and store thousands. When using Aereo, you’ll have an antenna in your viewing device, and another one at the data collecting center. The antennae at the data collecting center also doubles as cloud storage. As a user, you have a unique cloud storage and two antennae. Only you can view content stored on your cloud.

Here’s how Aereo brings cable to you:

  • First, TV signals are broadcast over the air.
  • Next, Aereo antennae receive the broadcast and download it to a cloud storage.
  • Lastly, the cloud sends that data to your viewing device.

You’re basically using a cloud-based DVR service to watch TV. With Aereo, shows get broadcasted, recorded, and then sent to you. Aereo argues that its service is one in the same with any other DVR service. Aereo records a program onto the cloud, and you watch it when you please. In this case, you can even watch it the same time the show is playing.

Get Your Own Content

In defense, Aereo claims that viewers technically use its services as a DVR to watch what they want. Broadcasters are not happy with this loophole, and many networks such as Disney, CBS, and Fox have already filed lawsuits against the start-up. These broadcasting companies believe that Aereo is wrongfully profiting by stealing TV signals, and then retransmitting those signals to Aereo’s customers. In short, Aereo is making money off of another broadcaster’s content.

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Areo Loses Big Case Against Broadcast Networks

In the beginning, Aereo was confident that its technicality would protect it from copyright infringement. However, Aereo’s chances of winning against these Fortune 500 companies seems to be dwindling as the case approaches its trial. On March 3, the Justice Department and United States Copyright Office sided with the broadcast networks and expressed that Aereo is in violation of copyright infringement. Losing the case will surely put Aereo out of business.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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