Why The Networks Are Really Afraid Of Aereo: Time Warner Cable Says It Might Offer Aereo-Like Service

from the getting-around-their-transmission-fees dept

The TV networks’ fight against Aereo, including their recent hilarious threats to pull their networks off the air and put them on cable always seemed really exaggerated. Aereo is a tiny startup, with a questionable business model and not that many customers. It does some nice things, but how many people were really going to sign up? Of course, the truth is that the networks aren’t that scared of Aereo itself, but if what they’re doing is shown to be legal, others might follow. Others like… the big cable companies. Like Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner Cable’s CEO, Glenn Britt, just admitted that they’re watching the Aereo case closely, and might offer an Aereo-like service themselves, if Aereo continues to win its lawsuit.

“What Aereo is doing to bring broadcast signals to its customers is interesting,” Time Warner Cable chief executive Glenn Britt said in an interview with The Washington Post. “If it is found legal, we could conceivably use similar technology.”

There’s a lot more behind the scenes here. Britt is posturing, in part, because every few months or so we see yet another flare up between the networks and various cable providers over how much the cable guys need to pay to retransmit the networks over their wires. If you have a TV service, you’ve probably lived through one of these fights, where you’re told you might lose (and sometimes actually do) a popular channel for a while if the company doesn’t come to its senses. Those fees have gone up and up and up and are a big part of why cable bills are so ridiculously high these days.

What Britt is now saying is that if Aereo is found to be legal, TWC would seriously consider offering their customers a similar service and then they could tell the networks to get lost the next time they demand a crazy amount to be included. This is why the networks are so freaked out about Aereo. They’re not so concerned about that one company, but that the cable companies will finally realize they’ve been paying ridiculous sums of money to rebroadcast those channels, when they might be able to deliver the same content, legally, online for free.

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Companies: aereo, time warner

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Comments on “Why The Networks Are Really Afraid Of Aereo: Time Warner Cable Says It Might Offer Aereo-Like Service”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Now that would be some hit to their pockets. Or not. As it’s been discussed in the previous Aereo article it’s more eyeballs for these broadcasters. Heck they can even stream their stuff themselves using bittorrent streaming features to save bandwidth given the amount of people that could be interested…. More eyeballs more advertising money. Is it really hard to understand?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

because network execs prefer the inaccurate fuzzy nielson ratings to highly accurate per user data.


It’s easier to fudge bad data and not be caught. If we had real numbers on the viewership of these larger networks there is a good chance they would be much lower than claimed and they should not be pulling in the level of ad dollars they are.

Technology, over time, almost always ends up pulling back the curtain.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Viewership count is not a factor in OTA services because the ratings system currently relies on panels of people like you and me. With the Nielsen Ratings System, the people they randomly select in the panel keeps a diary of what they are watching and when. Even if you have cut the cord and only use Netflix…you write down what you watched on Netflix and for how long and when you watched.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

One key thing to keep in mind is that cable companies like Time Warner and Cox and satellite companies here in the US are all in contention with major parent broadcasters because they can pull the plug at any time and basically mess up the customer base on a whim. Part of the reason cable cost keeps going up here is that broadcasters keep asking for more money for their content.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Imagine if you will a guy standing in the middle of a street holding a megaphone. He says into the megaphone The Greatest Poem of All Time (c). He spent countless hours making it up, writing it (but it’s not like everyone else should care about that) Anyone with ears can hear him. He is doing nothing (in fact, can do nothing) to stop people from hearing him whether they pay him or not.
The listeners decide they like the poem, so they whip out their recording devices and record. One of them gets the nifty idea of attaching an antenna to the recording device and re-transmitting the poem over the internet, and even charging for it, for other people to hear, who just can’t be in the vicinity physically.
At which, you, the guy with the megaphone, get mad, and demand they stop, and give them a cut. After all, without you, there would be no service.
To which I reply: But you didn’t do anything to stop me from listening. You in fact might as well have given us an implied licence by shouting (broadcasting) it in the clear. You did nothing to help in the re-transmitting end. You did not provide any of the equipment. You didn’t help with maintenance or the electricity or internet bills. If your work is so valuable that you must be paid if someone else makes use of it…DON’T SHOUT IT (BROADCAST) IN THE CLEAR FOR EVERYONE ELSE TO HEAR AND USE. In essence, you are demanding payment for doing nothing at all.

Josh says:

Re: Re: Re:

I understand your point, but it is an imprecise analogy. More accurate would be if there’s someone standing in the crowd who is hard of hearing, and someone out there is renting out a microphone (to receive the audio) and headphones (to amplify the audio so you – and only you – can hear it). In fact, there’s already a percentage of people who do this on their own (about 12%), but now someone has offered to provide that equipment for you for a rental fee rather than making you buy your own. If the original guy with the megaphone wants to monetize that opportunity, he should also provide that option as part of his service to his listeners.

Aereo does not let you stream OTA content outside the market where the signal is already available. If you want to put up an antenna, you will receive the same content that Aereo provides in your area. However, if you’re in a location where obstructions make this difficult (due to things like tall buildings in New York) or in a community where this is not allowed (such as an apartment complex), Aereo provides a very reasonable service that lets you effectively rent an antenna on their property where there is good signal, and feed it back to you.

Furthermore, if everyone is New York City, Boston, and Atlanta (the major markets getting this service for now) signed up tomorrow, all of the networks would see a significant increase in viewership simply because there would be zero competition from non-local broadcasters. This should boost ad revenues, and possibly even offset the lost re-transmission fees.

Frankly, I think the networks should have offered this themselves. I wouldn’t mind paying them for it, just like I won’t mind paying Aereo for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Here is the censored post:

“Hey, you’re catching on, Mike. Good for you. This isn’t hard to understand. The networks get paid lots of money for licenses. If Aereo isn’t paying, everyone else who is will wonder why they’re still paying. Simple stuff. Glad you’re seeing it now.”

ChronoFish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:


It was hidden for “This comment has been flagged by the community. Click to show it.”

While not strictly “inaccessible” many will skip over it so it is effectively censored. Why? I don’t see one thing in his comment that was trolling or offensive. I’ve brought this up before – it was essentially flagged because it brought a view that does not jive with the “community”.

For a site that puffs its chest for “free and open”, the readers are amazingly thin-skinned. It’s the most hypocritical aspect of this website.


Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Why? I don’t see one thing in his comment that was trolling or offensive”

By your view. Maybe, just maybe, your view isn’t the one that matters. Maybe, just maybe, the opinion of the Techdirt community, who individually decide that the opinions you and your ilk spew forth aren’t worth the time to read.
“it was essentially flagged because it brought a view that does not jive with the “community”. “

In a way – yes. The comment was patronising to say the least and didn’t add to the discussion. There was nothing new or original about it (hmm, where have I heard that before?), no new viewpoint or thought to be discussed. Just an insult, and according to the views of the community, insults that have no purpose or deeper meaning are a waste of time. Thus, we mark them. We say “Don’t bother reading this”.

ChronoFish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

There was a time on TD when the great Dark Helmet whom I miss dearly would come on here and throw down the gauntlet and ACs would try their best (and fail spectacularly) in a no-holds bar discussion about the topic du jour.

Those discussions where never censored “or flagged” or what-ever you want to spin it.

That time is obviously long gone when the “Insiders” can’t even see the irony of their own special blend of censorship.

Granted… TD never claimed to be Fair and Balanced.


Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

There’s trying and failing at an honest discussion. If you argue fairly, back it up with sources, but still can’t convince your opponent, well hey, at least you put forth an honest effort. We won’t hide that. I remember a few recent debates AJ has managed to have, ones where he’s able to argue at least somewhat well, with links to case law and legal doctrines, that haven’t been hidden.
Nowadays – it’s all attacks, insults, rushed out comments, and no thought at all. Are you honestly trying to equate that patronising insult that was hidden with an actual attempt at a debate? It’s not.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Well, I guess you can be correct there.
From the About Page
“Started in 1997 by Floor64 founder Mike Masnick and then growing into a group blogging effort, the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow.”
Basically, dumbed down, it says Techdirt reads news stories, analyzes them and offers an opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. Sane people, upon reading a publication that they believe prints nothing but lies, would quickly decide to avoid that publication. So…are you sane? Or are you insane?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Oh and ChronoFish? Just a thought, but you might want to reload this page and take a quick look at it.
Are any of your comments “censored”? As of the time of writing this specific comment, they aren’t.

Do you want to know why?

It’s because you’re debating. You’re espousing a more or less valid viewpoint and explaining your reasons for it. So far, you haven’t gone off the deep end and started hurling baseless insults (keep an eye on that word, baseless).
Unlike that insult comment you started protecting, your comments here have some sort of value, at least enough that not enough people have clicked on Report, if anyone actually has. I haven’t.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

like, crazy man, but that shuck and JIVE don’t JIBE with the actual factuals…
hee hee hee

semi-seriously (which is about as much as i can muster), while i do agree with you on principle (that techdirtia can and does ‘report’/hide some particular posters almost reflexively), i really can’t get too worked up about it when the ‘censorship’ (which i am FIRST in line to decry) is hardly egregious in its form…

IF the post was actually disappeared, i would agree with you more…

frankly, some posters almost deserve to be ‘reported’/hidden almost all the time, they are simply thread hijackers who rarely provide any useful counterpoint…

but you are richtig, some techdirtians are pretty quick on the trigger… (be interesting to know if there is an actual number of reports that make it hidden, or if it is some percentage of posters, or what criteria is used…)

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“frankly, some posters almost deserve to be ‘reported’/hidden almost all the time, they are simply thread hijackers who rarely provide any useful counterpoint…”

OOTB, every time. It’s tl;dr, auto-report no matter what, just seeing his name. He burned that bridge when he started comparing copyright infringement to murder, and suggested that the copying of stuff was akin to when my niece got raped. Trust me, the 2 are nowhere near the same, on any level, but this is the type of person we are dealing with here. Reality and logic are not in his sphere of reference.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It is neither censored nor effectively censored.

This particular comment is tamer than his usual but it still adds nothing to the conversation but puerile condescension. This particular comment espouses no views what so ever so it’s not even an example of flagging as a result of bringing ‘a view that does not jive with the “community”.’ Not sure what the quotes there are for by the way, it is literally a community.

Not sure I’m following on the thin-skinned. OOTB has directly stated he’s a troll before, literally saying sometimes he’s just arguing in bad faith to stir up trouble. Not sure what’s hypocritical about labeling individual posts as such.

Vidiot (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Agreed. Freedom, and all that… yes. You are all free to click whatever buttons you find here. But if there were no “hide” button, I would use my freedom-loving eyeballs to skip over the nasty bits, and get to the good stuff. Maybe enjoy a morsel of trollery from time to time if that strikes my fancy.

I appreciate your efforts on my behalf. But remember… if you voted to hide, it’s because you already read it; and now you’ve made that harder for me to do, which makes no sense. “Don’t worry your pretty little head,” you say. But you’ve made your decision, let me make mine… less of this juvenile hiding nonsense.

Here endeth the lecture.

ChronoFish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Does it or does it not take an extra click to see this one comment?

Are all comments treated the same?

You’d be okay with only dissenting comments being displayed fully with all other comments hidden behind a “This comment is preaching to the choir. Click here to show it”?

Maybe you’d be okay with that, but I think the site would be become pretty worthless.

The whole point in having the “flag” is to mark messages that are threatening or obscene or just spam. Sadly it has become a “mark of ‘alternate viewpoint'”


Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The comment was patronising and insulting. I will say it again, there was no deeper thought behind it. It was a simple insult, if you can even call it an insult. Thus, there was no viewpoint, whether orthodox or alternative.
Instead of making an argument with sources for why Mike is wrong, whoever wrote it just decided to toss in an insult. If that’s the best the “alternative viewpoint” can come up, we’ve already won the debate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Just yesterday Tim C. had an article wherein he was befuddled as to why the networks are upset with Aereo: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130501/19380322911/cbs-says-it-could-move-to-cable-few-days-if-aereo-wins-receives-several-offers-to-help-pack-its-bags.shtml

The usual arguments from the usual suspects are (1) “it’s free over-the-air anyway!”; (2) “they’ll get more eyeballs so that’s more ad revenue!”; and (3) “it’s just a longer cord!”. All three arguments are pretty dumb. The networks obviously think that they’ll get more money from the licensing fees than they will from the ad dollars, or else they wouldn’t mind the additional eyeballs. And “length of the cord” is not the legal standard. The standard is public performance under the transmit clause in Section 101 of Title 17. At least now Mike is finally homing in on the actual reason Aereo is problematic. ‘Twas obvious to me all along, but the Kool-aiders haven’t seen it for some reason.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

All three arguments are dumb – in your lone solitary opinion.
The only way for comments to be hidden is for many people to individually decide that they should. There is no conspiracy going on at Techdirt HQ. We don’t message each other saying “Quick, click on Report on this comment”. We, without communicating, decide on a common goal. The reason you don’t see our comments getting hidden is because there aren’t enough viewers clicking on the Report button for those comments – although it will and can happen (when I said I wished I could kill OOTB with a shotgun, that comment got hidden. I learned my lesson there, not to post death threats. Unlike certain other people I can name who never learn from their mistakes)
“The networks obviously think that they’ll get more money from the licensing fees than they will from the ad dollars, or else they wouldn’t mind the additional eyeballs.”
But that has, or rather, should have no bearing on whether a particular business is illegal.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This isn’t hard to understand. The networks get paid lots of money for licenses. If Aereo isn’t paying, everyone else who is will wonder why they’re still paying. Simple stuff. Glad you’re seeing it now.

I’ve seen it that way for years. The difference between you and I is that I encourage people to question why they’re doing something, especially if there is a better way to do it, whereas you seem to think that everyone should keep doing it without thinking critically.

Are re-transmission fees fundamentally a good thing for society? If you say yes, please provide your reasoning. My answer is no, whether it is the cable company or Aereo being told to pay it. The network is already broadcasting advertisements and getting paid that way, thus retransmission is increasing the reach of that advertising (and what they can charge advertisers), so additional fees are double-dipping (and charging twice for the same thing is inefficient). Adding additional transaction costs for copying infinitely copyable stuff is another inefficiency. Artificially limiting who can see or access your content, especially when it costs you nothing to allow it, and you are using your content to sell advertising, makes utterly no sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

When did protecting profits of players refusing to innovate in their markets become a corner stone of the free market we supposedly espouse?

Oh yeah, that’s right, its not a free market and its tilted toward existing players, thus they have an intrinsic right to all future innovation in the industry and the profits from it.

The is the system you so openly support.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“If Aereo isn’t paying, everyone else who is will wonder why they’re still paying.”

They should’ve been wondering that a long time ago. Their stupidity is not our fault, but they make it everyone’s problem.

“Simple stuff. Glad you’re seeing it now.”

Seeing it now? What condescending nonsense. Like you say, it’s simple stuff and I doubt there are many regular TD readers who haven’t known this for a long time. What’s amazing is that you don’t know that.

Anonymous Coward says:

the main thing Aereo and other services like it is going to do for customers is give another choice, instead of being stuck with the ‘main players’ who give poor service at rip-off prices. the main thing these other players will lose is their dominance and their control. i think that is more important to them than anything. it is something they have had for decades. it is something that has made them complacent. it is something that has made them not bother about their customers because there were no other choices. that is the problem with monopolies! it is the biggest problem with the entertainment industries! as soon as there is a hint of another service starting, particularly when the signs are that it is going to be a much better service, arse holes start to squeak. and the even bigger problem than having a monopoly is having politicians and governments that keep backing that monopoly, that do anything so that monopoly remains and that all opposition to that monopoly is squashed completely, even when it means destroying the freedom and privacy of the people to maintain it!! the world is heading towards a serious shit period in it’s history, all in the name of helping the entertainment industries maintain their vice-like grip on movies and music when there are better choices around!!

out_of_the_blue says:

Well, YEAH! Ya can't compete with free!

IF just anyone is free to take your content and use it, then the whole “business model” falls apart for the producers, though the thieves can make out for a while. That’s why CBS’s decision to just stop broadcasting makes sense.

Because it’s just grifting, I don’t see how Aereo could possibly win the case — and if win in court and the broadcast content is yanked or those go out of of biz, then it CAN’T win in the long run: they’ll have killed the host they’re leeching off.

If Aereo’s notions were legal, it would have been done long ago. — Guess I’d define legal here as without opposition from the content creators, who have ultimate recourse to just shutting down, which guaranteed to stop Aereo from operating!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well, YEAH! Ya can't compete with free!

The broadcast networks giving up their spectrum is as likely as a toilet seat from an airplane falling from the sky and killing you where you stand, not completely out of the realm of possibility, but so unlikely as to not even be worth thinking about.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Well, YEAH! Ya can't compete with free!

Also – how are they thieves for making use of transmissions that are broadcast in the clear? The broadcasters are literally giving them the content for free and without restriction. There’s no encryption, nothing at all done to prevent people who haven’t paid from watching the broadcasts.

Do us all a favour and do a few things.
Grow Up.
Learn how to debate.
Learn to cite sources.
Have a working memory (Aero has been WINNING its court cases so far)

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Well, YEAH! Ya can't compete with free!

And again, making money off of someone else’s content is what the TV channels do. They may make some of the content they broadcast, but not all of it. They use what’s there to make money. Just like any other business.
Oh wait…you meant a licence. Sorry, but you just suck at making yourself clear. You wrote a completely stupid absolute statement that just happened to include your heroes at the networks, without bothering to fine hone it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well, YEAH! Ya can't compete with free!


Well, YEAH! Ya can’t compete with free!

Tell that to the open source folks that are making millions and are a billion dollar market already.

Besides if you don’t want others “taking” your content for free what are you doing using OTA transmission are you long in the tooth or something?

streetlight (profile) says:

Let the networks drop OTA and think they're going to

Let the networks drop Over the Air and think they’re going to cable/satellite. When that happens and the cable/satellite companies show their middle digit to them they will hopefully go out of business, the local channels will soon follow and all that VHF will go to wireless carriers. Cable/satellite fees may not go down, but hopefully they’ll not go up as fast as they have been lately.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Let the networks drop OTA and think they're going to

The problem with that is the networks have a lot of leverage. Don’t want to carry ABC? Then you can’t have ESPN, Disney, ABC Family etc. Don’t want to carry Fox? Then you can’t have FX, Fox News (big deal right haha) etc.

No cable company is gonna shoot themselves in the foot and refuse to carry the most popular channels on the dial indefinitely.

anonymouse says:

Re: Let the networks drop OTA and think they're going to

Why let the airwaves go to wireless carriers, why not just allow other start-ups to start broadcasting on those airwaves, I am sure there are a lot of businesses that would love to be able to use those airwaves to broadcast new stuff, stuff the other channels have possibly decided are not good enough, like firefly and numerous other programs people really miss a lot. Imagine all the advertising money they would be getting, this is how a lot of the cable co’s started so it would add more competition in a few years when they had enough money from advertising to start making their own shows

DV Henkel-Wallace (profile) says:

Actually the part that should worry us is in the phrasing

The part that really worries me is this phrase:

“If it is found legal…”

Really what he should be saying is, “Unless it is found to be illegal…” but we have entered a permissions culture mirror world where now some things are illegal unless declared otherwise, rather than legal unless explicitly banned.

This is the bad news! Areo, the networks etc are small potatoes compared to this seemingly pervasive presumption of illegality.

Wally (profile) says:

Dude…I don’t think we should exactly slam Time Warmer for wanting to offer digital OTA services again…you have any idea how much bandwidth that would free up for cable internet? I don’t know if anyone realizes this but when you use coaxial cable ADSL internet…it is the same line one uses to watch TV…those signals are actually separated at the box outside your house into separate carrier waves. This could possibly free up lines for higher internet speeds.

OTA services go hand in hand with local news affiliates because that is how most locally affiliated TV stations receive signals..cable providers basically retransmit that data through cable to us under license with the station and the station’s parent and sister stations. The thing is that local stations can opt in to do OTA services for other aflilated stations on their own and outside of the parent company’s control. Great example is that here in Central Ohio, our ABC (WSYX Channel 6) and our Fox (WTTE Fox 28) stations share the same studio broadcasting center. Local affiliated providers rely on cable companies to distribute their respective content. The parent company can try to shut off the cable services, but what they cannot stop is the OTA services if there is one..that is only controllable by the local TV station.

Basically this is a good thing and might actually promote healthy competition for Aero.

Wally (profile) says:

My favorite Part of the aritcle :-)

“What Britt is now saying is that if Aereo is found to be legal, TWC would seriously consider offering their customers a similar service and then they could tell the networks to get lost the next time they demand a crazy amount to be included. This is why the networks are so freaked out about Aereo. They’re not so concerned about that one company, but that the cable companies will finally realize they’ve been paying ridiculous sums of money to rebroadcast those channels, when they might be able to deliver the same content, legally, online for free.”

I am honestly glad to see that for once….Time Warner will be able to do this again. They might even be able to provide basic cable OTA….which would save us quite a bit on cost. Mike I want to thank you for acknowledging that cable companies in this issue were not to blame for rising costs of cable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: My favorite Part of the aritcle :-)


Sounds like you work for an ISP or WISP. Most of which I have noticed simply resell Satellite service due to the high costs of entry into the market. I’ve seen a few IPTV services that have offerings but they were severely lacking content and not even worth mentioning. So I can at least concur that it’s the licensing deals that are keeping competition from the market, even if my only experience is listening to others complain on mailing lists.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: My favorite Part of the aritcle :-)

One, if you had read any of my past comments, you would definitely know I am NOT working for a cable company. Two, Aero is a digital service of retransmission, and as the article points out (and myself) the benefits of this ruling are 10-fold mainly because cable companies are not the reason why your cable bill is so high. The entire reason cable bills are so high is because it is CABLE AND SATELLITE PROVIDERS have to PAY to retransmit things over the air freely that are already sent to them. Which means their end users also have to pay for those services en mass to make up the cost. Now in this case…because CBS is a lone broadcasting entity that is not owned by anyone else but CBS and it transmits signals over the air (OTA for short), it is currently charging or suing anyone who streams the freely sent OTA transmissions through their service…Time Warner has always been a proponent of streaming cable services to subscribers over the internet regardless of the network or provider a user is on…as long as you have a Time Warner account you can log in…Time Warner ha also been a major supporter of broadcasting news services OTA digitally and in analog format from the affiliated stations in their regions.

The whole point is this…while we always complain that the cable and satellite companies have such high prices, we tend to forget that they too have to pay to bring the content they receive from broadcasters…the major network broadcasters demand higher and higher prices each year which is why prices go up for us users.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: but wait...

Time Warner Cable already had a service like that for tablet users where you could actually log in using your assigned e-mail service and watch the channels according to the packages you have at home…you could log in at any time to it even if it were at a non Time Warner serviced area. ClearChannel Media II (owns Fox) put a stop to that.

Now what Aero is doing is something rather interesting…they are using antennae to not only to pick up OTA signals…but they are also using them to retransmit those signals to other users. This is sort of cool because the more users they have in the region…the more people can watch. It’s like a peer 2 peer DLNA service
🙂 The beauty of this is that as far as the FCC is concerned, retransmission is completely legal without liscensing as long as they don’t interfere with the actual broadcast signals…since they augment OTA signals without interference (as Aero uses boxes to pick up and retransmit them) it is perfect for the use of recording the signal.

Given Time Warner already has the ability to deploy that system to users, it could revolutionize how we connect with our cable modems. I mean could you imagine if Aero’s system was deployed as an ISP as well? I’m sure that is what Time Warmer really thought about but the possibility is there.

ChronoFish (profile) says:

Improved Reception Service

Aereo Haters – Where is the line?

Note which case (each case extends the previous one) where the case is not acceptable to you.

Some citizen (Cit) of Manhatten lives in 2nd basement (2 floors under ground) of a popular high-rise. Cit loves to watch Big Bang Theory, but reception does not penetrate to the depth of his apartment.

Case 1.
So an electrical engineer (of which he is not) offers to mount an antenna on the roof, runs a long wire down to the basement and into Cit’s TV. The improved performance is great and he gladly pays the EE for his time.

Case 2.
EE was happy to help out Cit for a nominal fee, but the long wire gets cut by maintenance crews and other tenants of the building. So he begin charging Cit a yearly fee for maintaining the antenna.

Case 3.
EE likes the arrangement he has with Cit, but realizes that his repair costs would shrink if he made the antenna connection wireless. So he configures several WAPS to send the digital information from the top of the building to Cit’s apartment.

Case 4.
EE realizes that the wireless connection could just as easily run from the top of his building as it could from the top of Cit’s building. His building has fewer pigeons that break the antenna, so he moves the antenna and is able to provide Cit with better service.

Case 5.
EE realizes that Cit does have an internet connection, so he configures the setup to provide the signal over the internet instead of a dedicated WLAN.

Case 6.
EE realizes that Cit is not the only one in this predicament, so he start Aereo and offers the service to everyone who lives in the city…each getting their own dedicated antenna.

Case 7.
EE realizes that providing everyone with their own antenna is ridiculous and consolidates it down to one antenna which is then shared with all his customers.

How far down the slipper slope are you willing to go?

(Personally I pick 7, but I’m curious about the Aereo haters).


horse with no name says:

It hastens the day

What I think you guys are missing there is that this sort of think will likely hasten the end of OTA TV as we know it, as the costs to provide the service will exceed the return.

Local affiliates get paid for the use of their broadcasts, which in turn is used in part to pay for their programming, network or syndicated. If the income drops, they will be forced to make choices.

The networks themselves as the main provider of content are likely to consider cutting out the local affiliate as a middleman, and instead offer their content online or via some sort of IP-TV system, or perhaps licensing it directly to the cable companies. What would remain OTA would be an all day Dr Phil-a-thon, not very desirable.

The success of these antenna farm services goes directly against the product they are selling. It’s a business model doomed to fail because the two parties involved are working against each other, not together. The success of one is specifically a costly failure for the other.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: It hastens the day

“The success of these antenna farm services goes directly against the product they are selling. It’s a business model doomed to fail because the two parties involved are working against each other, not together. The success of one is specifically a costly failure for the other.”

Considering that they are charging for things that can be grabbed freely by an antenna by any local affiliate or cable provider, I think your point is rather moot. I am not really sure if you realize this but OTA started the television business…they still use it and charge affiliates extra for transmitting the content they receive for free. The affiliates work more closely with the cable companies than they do with their parent affiliations and the problem is that the affiliates catch the public flack when their parent stations make a dick move to get more money. When cable companies finally agree to raising the exorbitant costs being asked of them just because a CEO wants a raise..they get labeled as scum.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: It hastens the day

You’re not getting the point. If kicking up a fuss doesn’t work people will simply vote with their wallet. Television isn’t the only source for news or entertainment anymore. If free-to-air is no longer given as an option it won’t make everyone suddenly be willing to fork out. Most of my acquaintances can’t be fucked to watch TV anymore.

horse with no brain is bullshitting as usual.

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