back to article Court refuses to block Aereo's personal streaming TV service

The New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals has refused a request by the big networks to shutter the TV streaming service Aereo set up by billionaire media mogul Barry Diller. Aereo used thousands of tiny antennas at its base station in Brooklyn to pick up TV signals and either store or stream them directly to subscribers in …


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  1. Quxy


    To watch American broadcast television? The mind boggles.

    1. LarsG

      Re: $80/year?

      I remember a guy had set up an app for what in effect was a BBC newsfeed on Android when there wasn't one, and another who had a free BBC iPlayer on Android that you could even record program's with. This was before the BBC had even developed one... Needless to say the courts stopped it.

    2. John Tserkezis

      Re: $80/year?

      That's nothing.

      I recall a teenager who had a cellphone courtesy of M&D Finance (Mum and Dad), who had his funding pulled at the end of one month when the data charges came to some thousands of dollars.

      Turned out he was watching network streamed regular football games (legally) onto his two-inch phone screen in the privacy of his bedroom instead of watching them free-to-air.

      Never be shocked at what people watch, what they'll pay to watch it, or how they watch it.

      If he were watching porn, we wouldn't have batted an eyelid...

  2. Dick Emery

    Easy fix

    You get the laws changed.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Easy fix

      Thats what will likely happen. What would be interesting to see the networks take something like hulu a step further. I would love to see hulu without adverts (even for double the price) with all the shows in one place (no redirecting to other sites etc).

      We dropped cable TV entirely, not due to the cost but due to it being a waste of money. Even with a DVR it wasn't worth it. Netflix and Amazon prime do a fair job. It would just be nice to have a single subscription for say $50-60 a month that combined the best of all four (linear broadcasting, netflix, amazon and hulu) without the adverts and with the ability to cache shows to a tablet. That would mean working together though!

      Peoples needs and technologies are advancing, they don't have to replace entirely the 'old' linear broadcast system but they are only hurting themselves by trying to resist change. TV is a want, not a need. If they are playing silly buggers then fine, I spend my money elsewhere.

      1. Vimes

        Re: Easy fix

        Or perhaps have Hulu do the same as Netflix and start producing their own programs?

        Why do we even have this split between broadcaster and producer?

        1. Nuno

          Re: Easy fix

          says the man who was troubled by the fact that only AT&T clients had access to the iPhone...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy fix

      Give it a few weeks, a few million dollars of lobby money and see which way the wind blows then.

    3. teebie

      Re: Easy fix

      'Fixed' in the sense of 'made correct' or fixed in the sense of 'nobbled again'

  3. ForthIsNotDead


    They'd have to pay me a lot more than $80 a month to watch American TV. Or British TV come to think of it.

    There are some nice things on TV, but my tastes (I like educational, or documentary type programmes with a political bent) are so far from the mainstream that YouTube is a better medium for me.

    Pull TV will always be preferable to push TV. Push TV is dead.

    1. Colin Bull 1

      Re: Blargh...

      Push TV is far from dead. It might be on the downward slope ( that started well over 10 years ago) but it will be many, many years before it is eclipsed, perhaps even another 10 years.

  4. Gordon Pryra

    "we've always believed in standing up and fighting for our consumers"

    I feel its about time that people should be held accountable for this kind of crap spewed out by company's.

    They need to prove that they have always believed in standing up for and fighting for their consumers, or face the gibbet.

  5. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    Wait for the appeal

    This will undoubtedly be appealed on procedure alone.

    Not only was it a split decision, which allows appeals automatically, but one of the judges was an import from another area.

  6. JeffyPooh

    "...thousands of tiny antennas..."

    "...thousands of tiny antennas at its base station in Brooklyn to pick up TV signals..."

    Has anyone bother to confirm that the thousands of tiny antennas are actually real and functional?

    My Spidey Sense hints that they might be pure legal decoration. TV signals, even in Brooklyn, typically require more than 1mm^2 capture area. I've never seen a commercially offered TV antenna that would fit dozens per match box.

    If they've accomplished this amazing technical feat, then they should drop the remote TV service nonsense, rush to the Patent Office, and start preparing their 'Nobel Prize in Physics' acceptance speech.

    Plaintiffs might wish to get a warrant and check the schematic diagrams.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


      I expect that they had to prove that they do what they say they do in order to be judged legal. Or, at least, you'd expect that the networks, who for some reason hate this, would think of proving that they don't do it. Unless that is being saved up for the appeal. In litigation the goal may be not to win a case, but to keep the other party in litigation hell until they finally give in.

      My impression of the story initially was that it's the equivalent of this company installing a Tivo with network connection for each customer but on their own premises. Then when you stream, you are effectively just using your Tivo. But if legally they only need one antenna per customer, I'm not an expert but I daresay that lots of little ones that add up to be one big one MAY be both legally valid and technically functional - so that the design wouldn't work for 1 user with 1 tiny antenna, but works OK for a thousand or more.

      1. JeffyPooh

        Re: possibly,

        You guys should take the time to Google "aereo antenna" and actually *look* at the images.

        1) they're not fractal. But probably similar techno babel.

        2) they're installed on great big one square meter circuit cards with no sign of LNAs and no sign of any sort of RF distribution system. That doesn't work. The dimensions don't work for an array.

        3) they're apparently installed in vast racks dozens deep. That doesn't work.

        4) the racks are apparently installed in some server room somewhere.

        I suspect that the "antennas" are legal decoration. There's probably an antenna on the roof and they're essentially a Cable TV via Internet operation.

        The great legal minds wouldn't understand.

    2. Mad Chaz

      Re: "...thousands of tiny antennas..."

      I suggest having a look at any modern cellphone for examples for very small, yet very very efficient antennas. The wonders of fractal antennas are all around you my friend.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...thousands of tiny antennas..."

        No, so-called fractal antennas are not everywhere. At best they're a niche product. At worst - much worse. They can perhaps achieve a lossy match, but the fundamental conservation of energy rules and capture area still apply - that means that a proper sized antenna will always work better than a randomly crumpled up one (the antenna doesn't know the difference between true fractal and similar random crumpling - antennas don't have opposable thumbs to operate the PC to distinguish the two).

        Many of the latest mobile phones have no such antennas. Perhaps they're more common in the inexpensive Android phones that my coworkers are always pressing up against the office window, begging and pleading for a signal. LOL.

        PS: Some of the people working in that niche field are extremely unpleasant individuals. Horrid examples of the species. Deeply despised by many in the industry.

      3. cortland

        Re: "...thousands of tiny antennas..."

        Cellphone antennas are physically small, and though they are indeed smaller electrically than a normal antenna, a shortwave antenna built the same way might still be some eight feet on a side. I suspect Aereo has taken advantage of being quite near the transmitting antennas; at that range, with the power the stations use, it's hard NOT to pick them up.

        However, they might well be an internet cable service, and may next be hearing from the FCC for not following FCC rules for those.

  7. Kevin Fields

    Waiting for Aereoro here

    In 2011 I ended my subscription cable TV service. However, because I still have cable Internet service, I can pick up most of my local stations via ClearQAM for free, and watch it via the TV tuner in my PC as well as purchasing a ClearQAM-capable HDTV. To supplement much of the content that we missed, I invest $16/mo in Hulu and Netflix and have bought a pair of refurbished Roku boxes. It's worked well for my family.

    if Aereo can deliver the several over-the-air TV networks that my cable company doesn't carry on ClearQAM (mostly the digital sub-channels of the major broadcasters), I may be interested in ponying up for it.

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