TiVo Plans To Bring Aereo Back From The Dead

from the corpse-reanimation-never-works-well dept

Back in March, TiVo purchased Aereo's trademarks and customer rosters for around $1 million at auction, after Aereo's disruption efforts and clever legal arguments imploded spectacularly last November. Details are incredibly vague, but TiVo appears interested in resurrecting the Aereo service in some capacity, offering an improved -- and legal -- version of the controversial internet video service. Early details are spectacularly vague, but TiVo appears interested in marketing something to cable partners that will help them target cord cutters:
"It’s one helluva cheap way for cable operators to have an OTA/OTT device that says, ‘Satellite cord-cutter, I have a broadband package for you with a video component,'" (TiVo CEO Tom) Rogers said. "I think it allows them [the cable operator] to own the low-end and win over satellite subscribers."
The problem is that many cable operators don't want to make any truly disruptive over-the-top plays, since any value-oriented, disruptive internet video offering is going to cannibalize existing pay TV subscribers. That's why the cable and broadcast industry's Hulu has remained a dull, glorified ad for traditional cable TV. There has been some traction made on this front (Cablevision offering free antennas with broadband, for example), but by and large, cable execs remain terrified of upsetting the Apple cart. Rogers admits there's still a question as to how to make cable partnerships work:
"TiVo reasons that OTA, combined with broadband-fueled over-the-top services, presents an opportunity to help its cable partners target a small but growing number of cord cutters who are seeking less-expensive video and TV alternatives but who are also willing to create their own bundles. "The question is, how do you do that?” Tom Rogers, TiVo’s CEO and president, said during an interview last week at the INTX show in Chicago. “To us, the answer is pretty clear — it’s kind of the Aereo model, done legally and better."
The problem is, by the time TiVo's internet video offering arrives, it will be joining a crowded market saturated with services from the likes of Verizon, Dish (Sling TV), Sony and Apple. It's unclear how TiVo intends to truly differentiate itself from the pack, and the TiVo and Aereo brand may not be enough. Aereo's draw predominantly was its low $8 a month price tag, which was made possible because the company wasn't paying retransmission fees. Aereo's entire technical model of leasing customers micro-antennas and cloud DVR space was based on its legal efforts to tap dance around having to pay such fees. A legal version of Aereo couldn't offer the kind of disruption Aereo was capable of, because the courts have declared Aereo's particular brand of innovation to be illegal.

In other words, TiVo's version of Aereo will belatedly join a crowded field of over-the-top services, and while the brand name will provide some traction, the end product is likely to only share a passing resemblance to the Aereo people knew.
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Filed Under: internet video, over the top, tv
Companies: aereo, tivo


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  1. icon
    Charles (profile), 18 May 2015 @ 9:16pm

    Aereo Bankruptcy Resolution

    This is a copy of a letter I received because I am a former Aereo customer:

    Hello:
    As a former Aereo customer we wanted to give you some great news. You can once again receive the broadcast networks with DVR service. You've experienced via Aereo firsthand the power and potential of over-the-air(OTA) television with digital recording capability -- without having to be a cable or satellite subscriber. Well, that experience is back in an even better way with an unprecedented offer on the TiVo Roamio™ OTA for just $49.99 and $14.99/mo. with a free TiVo® Stream1.

    Because of the Supreme Court's Aereo ruling last year, OTA television won't be able to be delivered in the exact way Aereo had pioneered. However, TiVo Inc. recently purchased a number of the Aereo assets because we share Aereo's disruptive spirit and are committed to viewers who want to save money, still get a great DVR service, and do so without having to pay a cable or satellite bill.

    Introducing TiVo Roamio OTA, a slick, intuitive device that combines the only well reviewed way to receive and record OTA signals while integrating the best streaming services like Netflix, HuluPlus and Amazon Prime2. This is a major improvement over the Aereo service which did not integrate the over the air and streaming service viewing experiences. This approach gives you an ability to easily find and watch your favorite shows no matter where they may be. For instance, with TiVo's industry leading OnePass, search for your favorite shows and find every episode regardless if they are from traditional networks or new streaming services. In addition, it makes binge-watching really easy. Roamio also has "casting" built in just like a Chromecast™. Simply fling a show from your mobile device up to your Roamio and you're watching on the best screen in the house.

    Now, for a limited time we are offering former Aereo customers an incredible deal. Get TiVo Roamio OTA and TiVo Stream for just $49.99 and $14.99/mo. with a 1-year commitment. That's just a tad more than the original Aereo, but with way more features -- like 75 hours of HD recording as well as recommendation functionality that would have made Aereo blush. I encourage you to visit tivo.com/aereo_ota_deal to learn more. Order now while supplies last. Use promo code: ZG0Y0F5XW7

    Roamio OTA has gotten raves across the internet. Endgadget called it "the best over-the-air DVR ever available". And consumers agree: Amazon and BestBuy customers both rate Roamio OTA at 4.5 stars!

    Roamio OTA is awesome on its own, but when combined with TiVo Stream, it allows you to access all your live and recorded programming from your iOS or Android mobile devices using the very well reviewed TiVo apps3. Even more, Roamio OTA delivers twice the number of simultaneous mobile streams you were able to get with Aereo. You can also download shows to your mobile devices to watch when you don't have internet connection — something Aereo could never do.

    Please visit tivo.com/aereo_ota_deal while supplies last.

    And thank you for helping us keep the Aereo dream alive.

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