Last night I attended the Utah launch of Aereo where the is the founder and CEO Chet Kanojia showed how Aereo worked and talked very candidly with attendees invited to the event. Aereo has been in the middle of many legal fights due to their innovative method of co-locating miniature antennas in arrays of 10,000 that people can subscribe to and get the over the air broadcasts of their local TV on their PC, Roku, Apple TV and mobile devices like iPad and iPhone with an Android version rolling out next month. You get a guide in an HTML5 compatible browser or Flash format on the PC and can schedule cloud based DVR recordings or watch live local TV but only when you are located in the broadcast area due to legal red tape currently.
I was given a early free 30 day trial of the service and found it really nice as I cannot mount a big antenna in my townhome or rabbit ears on my TV. I can now have live news playing in 720p HD the same definition that Comcast sells me as HD for a premium price. I would imagine this might be something for cord cutters or those wanting to view live events like news and sports on their mobile devices and not really intended for watching your television series although you could. I was really impressed in the personal discussions and candidness of the CEO. I would venture Aereo has a high legal bill fighting and been winning against the television networks, but the laws are on his side as people are using an assigned antenna to capture the over the air broadcasts. The actual technical details of this cluster of antennas located about 7 miles from me is amazing and how they then process the signal you specify and then make sure it is the best possible stream and encoding to your device you are using.
Here is one of the Aereo antennas
The most common question was why is it limited to the local area when Streambox doesn’t, but what I gathered was since Aereo provides the antenna they are taking safe legal steps to make sure they have a firm legal standing where Streambox is installed by the user and networks might have to sue each individual. The service will be $8 a month and Aereo has many plans for the future beyond fighting legal challenges. I was impressed at how Aereo actually feels more on the consumers side than the big media and advertising side.It will be interesting to see how this all plays out as they continue to roll out more and more cities building data centers and antenna arrays in cities with 22 being launched this year.