What Now for Aereo ... and Its Viewers?
After Supreme Court ruling, streaming firm needs a plan B
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2014 1:11 AM CDT
Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., stands next to a server array of antennas as he holds an antenna between his fingers.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court has ruled that Aereo's streaming service is illegal—but while execs earlier said there was no Plan B, at least some people at the company appear ready to reconsider, the Atlantic finds. Barry Diller, the year-old service's biggest investor, says "it's over now," but CEO Chet Kanioja tells AdAge that while he is "disappointed" in the ruling, "our work is not done." We "will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world," he says. The company used TV antennas to allow users to stream content publicly broadcast from TV stations, which broadcasters argued violated copyright laws.

Aereo—which charged customers $8 per month—will have to reinvent itself to survive, possibly by coughing up retransmission fees or licensing its streaming technology to broadcasters, NBC finds. For now, customers who don't want to pay cable fees can still watch TV with streaming hardware, apps like Hulu, or even antennas of their own, CNN reports. But as Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissenting opinion, the ruling will have cloud storage and consumer electronics firms "looking over their shoulders" and could scare off people trying to build the next generation of media devices, Vox reports. "The court is sending a very clear signal that you can't design a system to be the functional equivalent of cable," a legal scholar at the University of Maryland says. "The court also emphasizes very strongly that cloud services are different. But when asked how, it says, 'They're just different, trust us.'"

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Jun 26, 2014 9:22 PM CDT
The SCOTUS court ruling was totally correct. Aereo was a pure ripoff, making money from someone else's content without paying any royalties. Pure piracy. But what TV needs is better content and not more ways of distributing existing content. Personally I think the TV we had on a handful of channels back in the '50s and '60s was more entertaining and uplifting than most of the junk being produced on hundreds of channels today. On whose show today can you see the variety of entertaining acts that you could watch very Sunday night on Ed Sullivan's alone?
Ezekiel 25:17
Jun 26, 2014 4:47 PM CDT
I'm thinking they have the infrastructure to go to a Slingbox type setup. The receiver is in your home and Aereo is the internet company that handles the data flow. I believe that would change Aereo's business model enough for it not to be a cable company.
Jun 26, 2014 2:32 PM CDT
The over-the-air broadcasters are compensated, by advertising. If Aereo increases viewership to homes that can not receive an OTA signal and/or will not subscribe to cable, the increased number of viewers makes the advertising time more valuable, does it not? An obvious play by the cable-network tv partnership lobby to keep us all paying thousands of dollars a year to watch television with tons of commercials.