Aereo Looking to Bring Live TV into the Cloud
It would seem that everyone is looking for a way to bring live TV to the Internet. BitTorrent would like to subsume live TV into the Internet with its new P2P technology, while providers like Time Warner Cable are deploying live streams of their standard broadcasts to as many devices as possible as quickly as possible. Now media conglomerate IAC is helping to launch a start-up called Aereo. Aereo has a plan to turn live TV into a cloud app with its new service. Aereo’s plan is to deploy refrigerator-sized units packed with hundreds of dime-sized antennas, one antenna per subscriber. The signal received by each antenna is streamed to its assigned subscriber for playback via an HTML5-based website, making the service compatible with just about any device or computer. The interface includes a program guide and the service not only streams live OTA broadcasts, but also serves as a dual tuner DVR with 40 hours of storage. At $12 a month it should be competitive with the bare-bones basic tier service offered by most cable companies, though obviously far more flexible. At the moment, most of the streaming apps that cable companies have deployed only work on a subscriber’s home network, whereas the whole point of Aereo’s service to remove such restrictions. It seems impossible for Aereo to avoid some sort of legal challenge from broadcasters and one has to wonder if there are enough people interested in a service that only provides access to OTA broadcasts to sustain a roll-out beyond the intial launch in New York City. That being said, IAC Chairman, Barry Diller, has put his full weight behind Aereos, and as the mastermind behind the Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting, he does know a thing or two about disrupting the status quo of TV broadcasting.
Barry Diller always enjoys riling the media industry from which he sprang. A few minutes ago at a press conference at IAC headquarters in New York City, Diller introduced a new startup IAC is backing called Aereo that is building a DVR in the cloud that broadcasts live TV to your iPad, computer, or TV. Diller has always believed that Internet TV would be a healthy counterweight to “media concentration” as media companies increasingly want “to protect that closed system.”