If you watch the news, you may have recently heard of a court case where the major networks sued a small up-and-coming web based video service called Aereo… and lost.
The reason that they lost is because Aereo, unlike a lot of other web based video services, is perfectly legal. Here’s how it works.
Aereo (www.aereo.com) basically uses a digital antenna about the size of a dime to receive digital over-the-air broadcasts.
By hooking these antennae up to web servers, they are able to stream the content, basically live TV over the internet to your computer. The channels currently offered by Aereo are CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, PBS, the CW, Ion, My Network TV, This TV, Antenna TV, Bounce TV, Cozi TV (and no, I didn’t make any of those up), ION Life, The Live Well Network, NYC Life, NYC Gov, PBS Kids, Qubo, HSN, HSN 2 and Bloomberg TV, along with several Spanish and Asian language channels.
Right now, Aereo is only in its home area of the New York metropolitan area, but is expanding to 22 additional cities this year, as far out as Kansas, Utah and Alabama. You can also sign up to be notified via e-mail when Aereo comes to your area.
Probably the neatest part of the Aereo service is the virtual DVR. You can record your programs on your virtual DVR just like you do the programs on your home DVR and retrieve them over the internet. The great thing is that this doesn’t eat up any of your computer’s hard drive.
Now for the hard part… the cost. And that part’s really not all that hard. Since I am a customer of Direct TV, I don’t have remote access to my DVR, much as I would like to when I’m away from home. Because of that, I am giving serious consideration to signing up for Aereo when it comes to my area, mostly because of the low cost. The lowest package is a one dollar “day pass”. This will give you 24 hours access to their live TV service including ten days to watch whatever you’ve recorded. With the remainder of the packages, you get unlimited television viewing, but are distinguished by the amount of virtual DVR space available to you: the “monthly eight” (eight dollars per month) with 20 hours of space; the “monthly twelve” (twelve dollars per month) which doubles your DVR space to 40 hours; the “annual”, which is the same as the monthly twelve, except that the cost is eighty dollars per year, or about seven dollars per month. Really, the annual is the best deal going.
Just like most businesses, Aereo also offers a reward programming for referring your friends. With their referral program, you get one month of free programming for each friend that you refer, up to three months.
So go to www.aereo.com and sign up if you’re in metro NY, or get on their mailing list if you’re not, and enjoy your TV!