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Supreme Court To Hear Aereo Case

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the boston-strangler-can't-be-far-behind dept.

The Courts 211

schwit1 writes "The Supreme Court will hear broadcasters' challenge to the legality of startup Aereo, in a case that may not only determine the future of digital streaming of station signals but of network television itself. Without comment, the justices on Friday agreed to accept ABC Television Stations vs. Aereo, in which the television networks are seeking to halt the Barry Diller-backed venture, contending that its offering of streams of station signals in New York and other markets violates the public performance provisions of the Copyright Act. Justice Samuel Alito took no part in the consideration of the petition, the court said, without elaborating. Typically such recusals are for a potential conflict of interest, and Alito has previously said that his family owned stock in the Walt Disney Co."

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lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922507)

Aereo is obviously going to win.
I feel bad for ABC and FOX

The way they play the "copyright" card (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#45922647)

Aereo is an online streaming service - among its offering, it enables people who stay very far away from NYC (for example, Sydney Australia) to watch TV stations from NYC.

The argument from the teevee stations is that by allowing the streaming of their broadcast content, Aereo is violating the "copyright".

I dunno about you, but I find this argument utterly preposterous !

Legally speaking, true, the way the copyright laws has been stipulated by those "legal experts" is that a copy of whatever copyrighted content (be it sound, image, book, or the combination of any form) can only be used one time, in one place.

But c'mon !

People living in Sydney Australia don't get to watch teevee station beaming from NYC anyway - and by allowing them to watch it via online streaming, how the fuck this going to make the NYC teevee station losing money ?

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (5, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#45922871)

Aereo is an online streaming service - among its offering, it enables people who stay very far away from NYC (for example, Sydney Australia) to watch TV stations from NYC.

The argument from the teevee stations is that by allowing the streaming of their broadcast content, Aereo is violating the "copyright".

I dunno about you, but I find this argument utterly preposterous !

Legally speaking, true, the way the copyright laws has been stipulated by those "legal experts" is that a copy of whatever copyrighted content (be it sound, image, book, or the combination of any form) can only be used one time, in one place.

Aero addresses this the same way Slingbox does. They argue that by having one physical receiver per active subscribed user, that they are not in violation; this is the same way it would work if you had a Slingbox at home in your NYC apartment, and were traveling in another country. The major difference is that advertisers that you see for NY products on your Slingbox have a reasonable expectation that you will be returning to the regional purchase market where your Slingbox is located at some point in the future, after your trip is over, while there's no similar expectation that you'll go to the roof where the Aereo receivers are located at some point, and then proceed to "buy local".

But c'mon !

People living in Sydney Australia don't get to watch teevee station beaming from NYC anyway - and by allowing them to watch it via online streaming, how the fuck this going to make the NYC teevee station losing money ?

ABC objects to this because they license content, and make money on commercials.

Commercials tend to be related to a regional market (i.e. you are unlikely to have a Big-O tires or Chick-fil-A or Trader Joe's or other locale centric food chain specific to the U.S. in Australia). Because of this, advertisers in the NY market don't see any benefit to ABC stations streamed outside the NY market, since they aren't applicable in remote markets; the thing that bothers ABC about this is ads tend to get paid by region, an by Nielsen ratings for the broadcast station within the region. So they don't get a higher income for their licensed content for their franchisees.

Assuming they could get franchisees in the local markets in Australia to pick up and license ABC programming, then there would be advertising for the local market in the broadcast area, and they'd see income for those programs within that region.

So Aereo breaks their regional marketing models by moving content + advertisements. This also devalues their properties, unless they agree to simultaneous release in various regions, and it erodes their leverage position of getting a franchisee in another region where there is no franchisee, because they are unable to hold them hostage to in demand content, which would (effectively) blackmail the local stations into taking a full content package, rather than one or two programs, and would cause income sharing for regional advertising back to the parent network (ABC).

This effect is, incidentally, the same reason that various networks have been going after cable and dish networks to get a larger programming package payout (with the exception that the cable and dish networks do regional advertising substitution on the fly into program packages, rather than taking all the advertising from the network). This was the basis of the CBS (network)/Time Warner (cable provider) dispute last year: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/09/02/cbs-time-warner-resolve-dispute/ [dailyfinance.com]

If Aereo wins, the networks are going to need to revise their business model, so the most likely outcome is actually that there will be a loss for Aero, with a time period for them and the networks to agree to an implementation of a fetch-model for advertising, at which point Aero doesn't end up actually losing, and the network gets part of what they want, but loses some of their ability to leverage shows to obtain local affiliates in various regions, and without those affiliates, loses access to local advertising sales forces in the regions in question.

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923031)

I just looked at the Aereo website, and it appears that they are actually restricting the service to users who live in the same metro area as the Aereo antenna farm in question. If things are as they seem, it impossible for people in Australia to register for Aereo, and the local ads remain relevant.

what's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923359)

What's the point of Aereo then? Why not stuck up my own antenna and DVR instead? What is the value? Is it just sticking the DVR into the cloud?

Re:what's the point? (2)

FreeFire (1957226) | about 8 months ago | (#45923415)

The point is that not everyone in the viewing area can put up an antenna and get decent reception.

Re: what's the point? (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | about 8 months ago | (#45923419)

Your internet service is all 4G and random WiFi?

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (4, Insightful)

Enry (630) | about 8 months ago | (#45923129)

ABC objects to this because they license content, and make money on commercials.

ABC's inability to make a buck off that is not my problem, nor should it rise to the level of copyright infringement.

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923155)

Tell yourself whatever makes you feel better about stealing content.

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (3, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | about 8 months ago | (#45923313)

There's nothing to "steal":

it's a digital product and it's also a public broadcast. This would be like saying I'm stealing from slashdot by posting the slashdot logo somewhere else. Give me a fucking break with your leap of logic.

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (1)

kuhnto (1904624) | about 8 months ago | (#45923319)

So, you are saying that if I, in theory, build a super high gain antenna to capture a tv signal from New York and view it at my home in Florida, i am, how did you say it... "...stealing Content?" That is not copyright infringement fool, that's physics.

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (5, Informative)

OrtCloud (1684696) | about 8 months ago | (#45923235)

Not sure where you're getting your information, but I'm an Aereo subscriber in Houston - The people living in Sidney Australia can't watch Aereo USA - you have to live in Houston to receive Houston stations - I can't watch stations in L.A., New York, Chicago, etc,... - only Houston (they check zip codes & monitor IP addresses)

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 8 months ago | (#45923279)

ABC objects to this because they license content, and make money on commercials.

While it's try that ABC isn't gaining revenue from people watching in Aussieland, they're also not spending any money on distribution or infrastructure to broadcast the information halfway across the world and increase their customer base.

At bare minimum, it's a break-even. Nothing gained, nothing lost. In reality, it will likely drive sales of DVDs, increase website traffic (which is likely ad supported as well) and provide free testing of the viability of this new market. Maybe there is an untapped wealth of potential viewers down under who'd love to subscribe to ABCs own streaming (with special unaired content online, of course)

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (4, Informative)

Skraut (545247) | about 8 months ago | (#45922887)

My impression was that you had to be in the broadcast area for a TV station to be able to get it from Aereo. You con't just decide you wanted stations from across the country. This is what keeps them from just being a TV streaming service, they're literally just rebroadcasting it to people who could under normal circumstances already get the content, and making it more convenient.

My parents live about 50 miles from a relatively large city where Aereo is "Coming soon" and apparently waiting for these legal issues to be resolved before they go live there. They used to have a 65 ft tower and a powered antenna in order to be able to receive over the air channels. In the past 20 years they've switched to cable, and the tower rusted and fell down. Now that they're looking to cut the cable, Aereo looks like a very attractive option for them since it would save the cost of setting up another antenna tower. The only reason they want the local channel is to see their nightly news.

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#45923171)

The only reason they want the local channel is to see their nightly news.

Hulu has nightly national news, and local news can be found on the radio, or on the website of your local newspaper, sometimes with video...

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923371)

This is correct. I have Aereo in Houston. When I am in Houston on an IP address that can be verified as being in Houston then I can get Aereo but when I travel I am not able to get my Aereo channels. Also, when you sign up they verify your mailing address against your payment info so using a VPN connection from a particular city would be complicated at best.

Aereo allows me to put on the television in my office if Im working late. I also pay for Directv so the tv companies/stations are getting my money anyway. Im sure if Aereo fails a company like Directv or Dish could buy them up and then what will be the arguement for the tv companies/stations.

I have also seen the NFL get involved in this legal case. The NFL is making billions a year but they are tax exempt. The NFL needs to stay out of this fight or maybe they should start paying taxes on the billions they make from their fans.

Re: The way they play the "copyright" card (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923547)

The NFL is actually a non-profit organization that oversees the sport. They make no money. The teams make the billions and they pay the taxes.

local channels have sports as well wgn america not (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 8 months ago | (#45923473)

local channels have sports as well wgn america does not have blackhawks, and only some of the bulls games that are on WGN.

And places that are like 65 miles from Chicago are in the blackhawks zone and you need WGN 9 / CSN to get all of the games that are not national.

Re: The way they play the "copyright" card (2)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#45922935)

So it would be no problem for the courts to rule that they should lock out customers in a market that want to watch tv in that market

Damn tourists! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923205)

Obviously it should also be illegal for tourists to watch TV while in the area. They are not likely to "buy local" when they go home, so are in fact stealing from the networks.

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923157)

Because now the teevee station can't sell the program to Australia since Australians already get it for free (or cheap).

Re:The way they play the "copyright" card (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923283)

Incorrect if you haven't heard by now. You are only allowed to register to watch in an area that they service, and they verify that you are only allowed to view content that would otherwise be available to you if you setup an antenna. Your entire understanding of the topic is mistaken.

I'm torn... (4, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45922549)

...and I'm sure my opinion will be torn to shreds for it.

I firmly believe that what Aereo does is, strictly speaking, legal, but hardly fair play.

Broadcast television got a pretty sweetheart deal: All of this spectrum is yours, just give us a little public interest news every day. The TV broadcasters use their ownership of the airwaves to produce content that'll get us to watch their sponsor's commercials.

While there are obviously other ways to time and location-shift television, Aereo is essentially a leech on the system. They give nothing back to the content producers. It's hard to root for them unless your only goal is the collapse of broadcast television.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#45922583)

maybe if they only rebroadcast to a TV, but doing it to devices well outside the tech limit of broadcasting will probably get them shutdown
at the minimum they will probably have to shut the DVR service down

Re:I'm torn... (4, Interesting)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 8 months ago | (#45923253)

Why? I'm running OTA on Media Center and can stream to other devices. The broadcasters just have to adapt to modern times. In fact, most of the times I'm watching TV on my computer either from its tuner or by streaming from Media Center. My 60$ ATSC tuner can record to a USB key. In a format that is readable by a computer, my mom's TV, and such.

 

Re:I'm torn... (4, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 8 months ago | (#45922593)

Aereo is essentially a leech on the system. They give nothing back to the content producers.

Aren't they expanding the number of folks that have access to that content, and hence, the commercials?

Re:I'm torn... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45922673)

My guess would be that the net number of viewers of OTA television drop as a result of Aereo, but that, yes, the total number of television viewers increases somewhat. Aereo probably brings in plenty of rural customers who wouldn't get NBC/CBS/ABC/FOX, but also probably also has a lot of urban customers who just want to time-shift.

It's a clever idea, a cool service, an interesting business model, and part of why I'm torn about them.

Re: I'm torn... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923591)

Not really, the rural customers don't have fast enough Internet or they have low bandwidth caps, or both. They're not using streaming services.

Re:I'm torn... (4, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#45923671)

They are no more leeches than Cable companies and other rebroadcasters and bundlers.

My guess would be that the net number of viewers of OTA television drop as a result of Aereo

Since each of their customers are renting a physical antenna from Aereo Each viewer is an OTA viewer: the OTA signal is received by the physical antenna they are renting, and then encapsulated for streaming over the internet.

There is no additional cost for the OTA broadcaster --- in fact, at some point, if all the OTA viewers are using Aereo, then the broadcaster could probably make a deal with Aereo to streamline their delivery, and reduce the number of kilowatts they need.

Since Aereo is playing TV unmodified --- the viewers do see all the ads

Since Aereo are only allowing viewers to join who are in the area of their antennas, and they restrict access based on IP addresses that geolocate to the broadcast area, they are not providing out-of-area viewers access to content.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922761)

Commercials on broadcast television are often for local businesses, which have no desire to advertise in other areas. In addition, as another poster mentioned, traditional methods for rating TV stations won't track what Aereo users are watching, reducing the income that the stations will receive from advertisers. (It's within the realm of possibility for Aereo to release these statistics, but they have no incentive to do so.)

Re:I'm torn... (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 8 months ago | (#45923259)

*as another poster mentioned, traditional methods for rating TV stations won't track what Aereo users are watching*

Then time to change how they get their stats.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 8 months ago | (#45923691)

*as another poster mentioned, traditional methods for rating TV stations won't track what Aereo users are watching*

This, of course... is not Aereo's problem; when there a significant number of Aereo users, and eventually it becomes such that not including Aereo users would result in a non-representative sample, this becomes a problem the researchers and ratings agencies will definitely have to deal with.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 8 months ago | (#45922851)

not with automatic commercial removal

Re:I'm torn... (1, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#45922909)

Aereo is essentially a leech on the system. They give nothing back to the content producers.

Aren't they expanding the number of folks that have access to that content, and hence, the commercials?

See my other posting; commercial on broadcast television are typically a small percentage national brands, with the remainder being local advertisers within the broadcast area. Unless viewed in the broadcast area, the value of those commercials is Nil, and the network no longer gets paid proportionally to the number of actual viewers, only to the number of viewers within the area where the ads are applicable, and only then if those viewers are not viewing via Aereo (unless they are wiring Nielsen boxes into the receiver units).

Re:I'm torn... (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#45923153)

Unless viewed in the broadcast area, the value of those commercials is Nil, and the network no longer gets paid proportionally to the number of actual viewers, only to the number of viewers within the area

Aereo has gone to great lengths to ensure that nobody outside the broadcast footprint can access the content through Aereo. So your point is entirely moot.

Re:I'm torn... (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about 8 months ago | (#45922931)

Aereo is essentially a leech on the system. They give nothing back to the content producers.

Aren't they expanding the number of folks that have access to that content, and hence, the commercials?

I use Aereo to watch football games while cooking. I see all the TV ads. Otherwise I would listen to it on the radio and hear the radio ads. Is that what the TV network wants?

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922595)

It's hard to root for them unless your only goal is the collapse of broadcast television.

I'm not sure that wouldn't be so terrible.

At the same time I'm amazed that contracts and laws have become so amazingly complicated in the USA with regards to something as seemingly simple as television...

Re:I'm torn... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 8 months ago | (#45922863)

I'm not sure that wouldn't be so terrible.

If broadcast TV collapses then Aereo will have nothing to re-broadcast

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922939)

So it's a problem that solves itself.

Re:I'm torn... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#45922601)

It's hard to root for them unless your only goal is the collapse of broadcast television.

Broadcasters seem to be doing a good enough job on their own with that, considering the amount of crap and Reality TV programming that they're running with these days. I had a fine chance to look at said broadcasters after a 8 year hiatus, and I'm pretty sure everything except for a couple of drama's, was reality tv, including on the specialty channels like discovery, mil-tv, and tlc.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45922705)

ABC/NBC/FOX/CBS pretty much only produce 15 hours of programming a week anyway that isn't the nightly news or the Latenight Show.

For the most part, the four broadcast networks have a pretty good suite of dramas and comedies. I think tier-1 cable has better shows, but most reality shows are saved for mid-season replacements and summer. [Cooking and Singing shows are the recent exception, but those 15 hours a week are pretty good.]

Re:I'm torn... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#45923401)

Well if you call it pretty good, I guess that's your taste. But it doesn't seem to jive with the droves of people cutting the cord from cable and satellite, or throwing it all including IPTV into the bin. Maybe Star Trek was right, and TV as a form of entertainment will die by the mid 21st century.

Re: I'm torn... (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | about 8 months ago | (#45922609)

What does a viewer "give back"? Do they strip the commercials out? If not, they're giving their sponsors a wider audience.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922613)

All this is really about is the length of cable between my viewing device and an antenna.

Re:I'm torn... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922629)

Then again, if I understand the situation correctly the broadcasters aren't really losing anything. Broadcast TV gets its revenues through advertisements, there is no revenue flowing from the delivery of the product. In a way, broadcasters should be grateful that someone is helping them show their ads to even more people without costing them a dime. If they could figure out a way to get viewing figures from Aereo as a form of compensation, to bring to their advertisers as a basis for negotiating rates, they could have the cake and eat it too. If Aereo on the other hand was recording the broadcasts, stripping out the advertisements, and then streaming it on to consumers, that would be a whole other situation.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45922729)

As mentioned in my post, the double-whammy of location and time-shifting (with the ability to skip commercials) makes it, in your words, "a whole other situation."

It's not Hopper-esque commercial skipping, but they offer broadcast television essentially commercial free.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45922759)

...and yes, I know there are dozens of other ways to time-shift.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923025)

I thought that the service was essentially live streaming of what is being broadcast, without any time-shifting or commercial-stripping features. If that's not the case I must admit I understand why the broadcasters are less than happy and Aereo should not be allowed to operate.

Re:I'm torn... (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#45922631)

Aereo is essentially a leech on the system

How? Broadcasting over the air is a way of distributing content. Aereo does exactly the same thing. Think of it as a repeater for the broadcast signals. The broadcasters should be happy that another party is helping to distribute their content. The broadcasters get paid via advertising revenues, which are proportional to the number of viewers. Why should they object to more viewers?

Re:I'm torn... (3, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 8 months ago | (#45922793)

They shouldn't. Except...

First issue is that those viewers are time-shifting. The broadcasters hate that because some of their advertisers want the ads to be seen at that time. The great example being Thursday night, when the movie studios want to advertise movies opening that weekend. It doesn't do them as much good if I'm watching commercials meant for Thursday night on the next Monday or I'm watching Monday programming on Thursdays. Why should I, as an advertiser, pay extra for a Thursday night ad when there's no guarantee that the perspective customer will see it on Thursday night?

Second issue is that those viewers are not being measured. Broadcast television is seeing it's viewership decline as people go do other things--including watching the programs that broadcasters are showing via other means. Remember that ad rates are set by how many people are measured watching the show. No measurement and you have no idea how many people are watching and, therefore, no clue as to how to set the ad rates.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922957)

So what you are saying is that the Broadcast companies don't have accountants/acctuaries that can analyze the data to optimize payment for commercials for every day of the week based on the premise that a 'random number' (or more likely a statistical model of the number) of users won't watch the show on the day it is broadcast? Yeah RIGHT!...furthermore, your saying that 'counting eyeballs' the old way isn't useful in the new world...so be it, find another way to count the eyeballs...O guess what I know PAY Aereo for the data! You don't think Aereo knows who is watching what & when & even how many times they watch it? So for instance, what should an advertiser pay for Superbowl commercials that appeared on OTA when someone watches the Superbowl 10 times instead of just once?

Again, the broadcasters missed an opportunity, they are late to the game, panicing & trying to use the courts to make it so they don't have to change their business practices...boo hoo! Give the government back the free spectrum & take your ball & go home...big deal, won't be missed.

Re:I'm torn... (3, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | about 8 months ago | (#45923013)

First issue is that those viewers are time-shifting. The broadcasters hate that because some of their advertisers want the ads to be seen at that time.

The broadcasters will only "hate"* it if the advertisers stop paying as much. Are there advertisers who think Aereo is reducing the number of viewers who see the ads at the 'right' time? Do they think that reduction is greater than the gain for having their name and product come to more people's attention at all? Can the broadcasters show where this has come up in negotiating prices? I ask, because the broadcasters don't seem to be using that as part of their case. If they have specific cash amounts they could point to, that's actual damages, and so far, the case seems to be about potential or statutory damages instead. Showing where a given advertiser has offered less because the time shifting makes that timeslot less valuable would be refreshing, as it would let the broadcasters claim damages based on a simple straight-forward calculation that wouldn't look like Hollywood accounting gone mad.

* Hopefully, the broadcasters aren't sueing because they 'hate' anybody - lawsuits are supposed to be about making financial matters straight. Responsible adults don't sue becasue they hate someone and want to do whatever kind of damage they can to them, but to make the bottom line come out right. A civil trial is deliberately supposed to be an extraordinarily poor substitute for ripping someone's jugular out.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923063)

Why should I, as an advertiser, pay extra for a Thursday night ad when there's no guarantee that the perspective customer will see it on Thursday night?

I don't know. Do you think they missed the previous 1,023 airings per channel that week?

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922919)

Are you claiming that broadcaster's advertising revenues are contributed to by Aereo viewership? If not -- which I believe is the case -- then Aereo is contributing nothing to the system while profiting from it, while TV shows budgets are generally being cut season to season.

Re:I'm torn... (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 8 months ago | (#45923687)

The broadcasters get paid via advertising revenues, which are proportional to the number of viewers. Why should they object to more viewers?

The reason they're upset with Aereo is that cable TV companies pay broadcasters in order to carry the broadcast channels over cable. Alternatively, the broadcasters can compel the cable companies to carry the broadcast channels, but then they can't charge for them.

If the Aereo model is legal, it's pretty likely that the cable TV companies will all stop paying broadcasters and will just use antenna farms, like Aereo does. This will seriously reduce the profits of broadcasters more than any additional viewership being advertised to will make up for.

Re:I'm torn... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#45922691)

Broadcast television got a pretty sweetheart deal: All of this spectrum is yours, just give us a little public interest news every day.

And that's why it's so easy to root for Aereo: Broadcast television got an absurdly sweet deal (one that, given the absolute shit that passes for 'news' they arguably aren't even honoring) on a very nice chunk of RF. Time for them to move.

If 'broadcasting' over the internet is sufficiently lucrative that Aereo (a 3rd party that has to run a silly teeny-antenna farm for legal reasons) can make money, they can cut out the middleman and do that instead. But if they want to keep acting like a very nice chunk of the airwaves was just handed to them by god for their convenience, fuck 'em. I'll cheer Aereo every step of the way if they do, in fact, cause one or more of the broadcasters to follow through on their threat to take their ball and go cable only.

(That said, I'm not actually sure that I believe your argument: Yes, Aereo doesn't provide anything back to the content producers; but neither does putting an antenna on my roof. And yet, sending free signals laced with ads to people with antennas turns out to be a functioning business model. Aereo doesn't actually detract from that, indeed, they increase the number of viewers within range of the signal, at no additional cost to the broadcaster. If they do have a financial effect, it's purely on the assorted shakedowns that govern the 'Must-carry [wikipedia.org] ' rules on cable outfits, another absurdly sweetheart deal given to the broadcasters for, um, reasons. Or something.)

Re:I'm torn... (1, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45922747)

My argument is that I'm conflicted.

Aereo's business plan is "stream NBC over the internet and get paid for it."

It doesn't pass the sniff-test of what's kosher.

Re:I'm torn... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922891)

NO! And that's where you're missing the important point, Aereo's business model is 'rent antenna's, a DVR & bandwidth to allow a user to stream content they want from the available OTA signal anywhere the user wants'...Aereo's users are NOT paying for streaming NBC, CBS, ABC etc., if they were then indeed Aereo's business model would be copyright infringement. Consider that for it to be the case that Aereo were charging for 'streaming NBC over the internet' then all they'd ever need is to record 1 copy of the show for themselves, then make that available to all their users that is explicitly not what they do, every user is recording & streaming the particular station they want to watch, again they are renting the infrastructure not paying for the content.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

russotto (537200) | about 8 months ago | (#45923385)

Aereo's business plan is "stream NBC over the internet and get paid for it."

And cable's original business plan, when it was CATV, was "retransmit NBC via cable and get paid for it". 100% kosher, though the legal wrangling is STILL going on.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about 8 months ago | (#45922715)

It's hard to root for them unless your only goal is the collapse of broadcast television.

Sounds like a good goal to me. Besides, if what they're doing is legal, then why would you not root for them?

Re:I'm torn... (0)

cavreader (1903280) | about 8 months ago | (#45923305)

Their service has not yet been deemed legal or illegal at this point. They have lost in the lower courts so now it will be decided by the highest court in the US. And the court system doesn't care who people are "rooting" for.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about 8 months ago | (#45923341)

Their service has not yet been deemed legal or illegal at this point.

The guy above said he thought it was.

In any case, I'm rooting for this company, no matter how our corrupt system ends up dealing with this.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923637)

Aereo has won "every" case so far, it's the broadcasters that are appealing to the Supreme Court in a Hail Mary attempt to win.

Re:I'm torn... (4, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 8 months ago | (#45922745)

I firmly believe that what Aereo does is, strictly speaking, legal, but hardly fair play.

That's the best kind of legal.

Re:I'm torn... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922807)

Your opinion shouldn't be 'torn to shreds', your welcome to your opinion, people simply might disagree with it. Specifically what exactly is Aereo doing that I can't do myself? I have an antenna at home able to tune in OTA content, I have a DVR attached to it from which I can record the station of my choice & then 'stream' it anywhere I want to on any device I want. It's 'black letter law' that I have the right to do this. To receive & record all the OTA stations available to me at once I need as many antennas as there are available stations but only 1 DVR & there's certainly no legal limitation on the number of antennas I can have. Now, what if a company sold me a device that had multiple antennas, receivers & 1 DVR that was located in my house from which I streamed the content? Now what if instead of selling it to me they rented it to me? Now just move those devices to a central location and you have Aereo's business model.

Aereo is simply providing the infrastructure to do this in 1 location, they are 'renting' out the infrastructure that every user would otherwise have to buy and install at home, they are clearly NOT charging their users for content, they are charging for the infrastructure. In the process more users have access to the content, more eyeballs on the commercials, and thus the broadcasters in theory should be able to charge more for the commercials & this 'free content' that they are providing using the 'free (monopoly) spectrum' they were granted by the government.

Sorry, Aereo is not leaching off of anyone, as always the Broadcasters missed an opportunity that was obvious to someone else with the technical know how & backing to do it & now they are scared of this somehow ruining their 'business model', the Broadcasters don't have a right over how I watch the content delivered OTA I hope the SC puts the smack down on them, it will be good for their ego.

Re: I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923695)

It becomes different once they rent the equipment and make a profit out of the deal.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 8 months ago | (#45922839)

Frankly, it probably is illegal. But it shouldn't be.

Check out the history of cable TV (or Community Access Television - CATV - as it was once known). Basically, it started out with a big mountaintop antenna and feeding the broadcast signals down to a poor-reception valley. Essentially what Aereo would argue they're doing now, just they're using the Internet. It was the same progression - the broadcasters complained that the cable companies were mooching and not paying anything back, and the cablecos said "hey, we're just retransmitting - people could just set up an antenna". This all came to a head with the "Cable Act" [wikipedia.org] back in 1992, which set up retransmission consent [wikipedia.org] . I don't see how Aereo is any different than those cable providers who just were retransmitting from an antenna, and those cable providers have to ask permission.

Now, requiring consent is stupid. Part of the deal of broadcasting anything is that you can't control its reception (this is why people complaining about the Google WiFi bug are horribly misguided). That's a very simple, straightforward, and fair model, and it's worked for a long time. Cable companies should be able to set up an antenna like anybody else and connect your house to it. But, they shouldn't be able to modify that stream at all - in particular, they shouldn't be able to substitute their commercials. They could of course negotiate a deal with the broadcaster for a direct feed (better video quality!) or the right to put some of their own ads in, but they shouldn't be required to.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922955)

The way Aero works is that you the customer lease an antenna in a market that you prove that you live in and then you send content from your personal antenna to your personal dvr (both of which are hosted in the cloud) and from your personal dvr to your ipad, boxee, or whatever. It is technically legal IMO. I met with these guys early on and they had a bunch of lawyers and were ready for a fight.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923057)

Frankly, it probably is illegal.

An unbroken line of rulings to the contrary suggests it's not as "probable" as you seem to think.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

real gumby (11516) | about 8 months ago | (#45922949)

I firmly believe that what Aereo does is, strictly speaking, legal, but hardly fair play...

Aereo is essentially a leech on the system.

I can't understand how they could be considered leeches:

  • They connect viewers to broadcasters that the broadcasters would not otherwise be able to reach, and at no extra cost to the broadcaster
  • They stand on their heads with this crazy device so that each subscriber has an antenna, same as if the antenna were directly attached to the subscriber's TV.

In what way is this being a "leech"? If anything it's a service to the local broadcaster. In fact if you think of it, if Aero becomes successful, the broadcaster could save money by lowering the broadcast power.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

kqs (1038910) | about 8 months ago | (#45923189)

Currently, local viewers who cannot get an OTA signal need to buy cable or satellite. Local stations get paid per subscriber for cable and satellite viewers. Aero does not pay this extra fee.

Local stations could improve their broadcast range to covert the cable/Aero/satellite viewers. This would cost money and would lose them the extra fees.

There is a leech involved. I do not think it is Aero.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

real gumby (11516) | about 8 months ago | (#45923289)

Interesting. <joke>Sounds like the broadcasters should just switch off their towers and collect the cable fees.</joke>

(I assume the fee comes from some sort of "must carry" in the area supposedly reached by the towers, and if they switched off the towers the cable providers would simply drop them.)

Re:I'm torn... (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 months ago | (#45923125)

I firmly believe that what Aereo does is, strictly speaking, legal, but hardly fair play.

What the broadcasters do is quite unfair, but technically legal as well.

Aereo is essentially a leech on the system. They give nothing back to the content producers.

They delivery YOUR eyeballs to the networks and their advertisers. You might go watch YouTube instead, if Aereo didn't exist.

What broadcasters are worried about is cable retransmission fees, which has nothing to do with Aereo. Viacom wants to keep your cable company paying obscene amounts of money for channels like Nickelodeon and MTV, and threaten to pull their local CBS channel if they don't agree. Broadcast television was never supposed to work that way. Aereo is breaking that model.

I consider Aereo a valuable service for people like me who are out in the fringes... If I spend $200 on an antenna system, I can get most, but not all, of my local channels, with minor breakups. That same money will pay for Aereo for quite a while. It can also save me from buying a DVR as well, though I must admit, those are getting dirt cheap, these days. [walmart.com]

And while I can make an antenna work over time, renters without dedicated private roof space (see: FCC) may not be in a position to do so in any case. Those same renters may also not be in a position where they can get satellite service, either. Then it's just a question of being at the mercy of the local cable company, or not having TV, without Aereo.

Re:I'm torn... (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 8 months ago | (#45923351)

*What broadcasters are worried about is cable retransmission fees, which has nothing to do with Aereo. Viacom wants to keep your cable company paying obscene amounts of money for channels like Nickelodeon and MTV, and threaten to pull their local CBS channel if they don't agree. Broadcast television was never supposed to work that way. Aereo is breaking that model.*

Then let the model break. I'm tired of region-locking DVD or BD discs, not being able to watch something because I'm not in the US, not being able to watch something I bought from a movie company on a different computer. Heck, under current law I'm not even allowed to rip my own DVDs to watch on my iPhone. Disney has stuff from the '30s that is *STILL* copyrighted. People get their e-books removed *even* if they paid for them, the list goes on.

And they're wondering why people pirate stuff. The Oatmeal hit the nail on this one

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones [theoatmeal.com]

Re:I'm torn... (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 8 months ago | (#45923229)

FCC and CRTC are already helping the collapse of free broadcast TV. They took away ch70-83 for cell phones during the 80s and 90s. They did it again recently (52-69 has been reallocated for 700Mhz cell phone bands). And they also removed 2-6 on VHF (big loss for long-range reception when not line-of-sight). Guess what will go when cell phone companies want more spectrum? probably 40-51.

Aereo leases an antenna and a DVR, nothing more. People might be unable/unwilling to install an antenna on their home. The TV stations just want more money, that's all... Kill Aereo, the numbers of people watching said station will fall, so will their revenue for advertisers.

My only goal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923239)

is the collapse of broadcast television.

Re:I'm torn... (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 8 months ago | (#45923285)

Uhh...its the broadcasters themselves that are screwing things up frankly. I mean there is ZERO reason why in 2014 that I shouldn't be able to just go to a webpage and watch my local TV stations, which just FYI I currently can't watch at all because the only way to get a signal here is to get the super to crawl on the roof and set up an antenna and he's backed up a good half a year, but instead they not only don't let the local stations simply stream the same broadcast they are currently showing on the web but thanks to their butt kissing the cablecos you can't even go to the network website and watch same day. meanwhile I can just pirate it and have it commercial free less than 2 hours after broadcast...now which do you think I'm gonna choose?

If they don't get on the damned ball soon there won't be anybody to watch their shit anyway...you talk to the young folks lately? In my shop I talk to young folks every day and I can't remember the last time I talked to a person under 30 that even watched TV, they have all gone to the net and aren't gonna be tethered to some TV at 9,8 central just to watch a damned show. If they don't make things Aereo easy when the current gen dies off its gonna be AM radio, a niche so tiny nobody gives a shit.

Re:I'm torn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923311)

Not trying to be snobbish here, but do you understand that Aereo only streams content that is received by antennas dedicated to each user? There is no stripping of commercials going on, other than the typical fast forwarding that anyone can do with a DVR.

Money (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#45922617)

Infrastructure costs money to build, run, and maintain, and good content costs money to create. Strip out the revenue and things will go even further down the tubes.* Let it be hijacked and the result may not be much different.

*On the bright side, maybe nobody will be able to pay for the Kardashians. There's a happy thought.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922733)

But how is Aereo different than my having an antenna on top of my house? They, basically, provide me with an antenna placed in a good location. On top of that, for a reasonable fee - I actually thing it's a bit expensive, but whatever - they allow me to put my DVR at their location.

Am I missing something obvious here?

I hope . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45922771)

I hope the Aereo creams the broadcasters. This is just another example of the content producers trying to use control of the distribution medium to extract profits in excess of what that content is actually worth. The key point is that with Aereo the content is delivered to one user via dedicated hardware, just as it has always been. The only thing that has changed is the length of the wire. The original bargain with OTA TV is that we the people give you spectrum, you the broadcasters give us content and commercials, we watch the commercials, and you get paid. Nothing that Aereo is doing changes that. Indeed, they found that after the VCR decisions of the 1980's, revenue actually went up because their audience size went up. But now Broadcaster's have just gotten fat and greedy on the re-distribution lucrative fees they have extorted out of people and that needs to be checked.

I use Aereo, it's great (4, Interesting)

djhertz (322457) | about 8 months ago | (#45922795)

I live within the broadcast range of Boston but due to a hill I'm on (and weather) I only get one or two channels at best. I like to watch American football and having the signal drop in the middle of a play just stinks. Aereo allows me to watch (and pause/record) shows I would normally get fed up with and just not watch. It's a great service to mesh with Netflix/Amazon Streaming/etc. since you get sports and live news. We really like it.

As to why the broadcasters are against Aereo I guess there could be concern about timeshifting, etc. But if I did get solid reception OTA I could just use any DVR to do pause and recording, or even a VCR (ok not a VCR, no TV is worth using one of those again).

Overall I see Aereo, Netflix, etc. as the future. Much like mp3s and digital streaming are the media for music. It would probably be best for the broadcasters to try and figure out how to best make it all work. I still don't understand why a broadcaster would not want Aereo to 'repeat' their signal, w/o it I would not be able to watch the shows, hence not view the commercials.

ABC has a good shot, but Aereo should win (5, Interesting)

American Patent Guy (653432) | about 8 months ago | (#45922797)

ABC does not own the content that it broadcasts: it licenses it from the original authors/producers. That license permits it to distribute the content over the airwaves with the payment of a fee.

Think about it this way. Suppose I wrote a play. I would have both (1) a right to prevent others from copying my written work (the script) and (2) a right to prevent others from performing that play if they got a copy of the script. If I permit a playhouse to perform the play, that playhouse can limit the viewing of the licensed performance to those inside the building. Here, ABC is broadcasting its content to the public: it's like a playhouse that has no walls that anyone from the street can enjoy. The playhouse's recourse is to perform the play inside an enclosed building, and ABC's recourse is arguably to distribute its content to those under contract, which it cannot do over the public airwaves.

Now, if ABC owns the original rights in what it broadcasts, the story is different. In that case it can sue as the holder as the copyright, rather than the holder of merely a license. Even then, arguably ABC has granted everyone with access to broadcasted content an implied license to view it, and forward the content to another location as apparently Aereo does. What Aereo would then be doing is merely a "fair use" of that broadcasted content, which is specifically permitted by the copyright statutes.

The MLB and NFL will not take a free for all and a (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 8 months ago | (#45922817)

The MLB and NFL will not take a free for all and aereo may have to have to have big time DMA locks on this.

No way they will be able to do and cheap NFL ST package.

All about the money... (4, Interesting)

EvilSS (557649) | about 8 months ago | (#45922987)

These lawsuits against Aereo are about money, and really not even about getting money from Aereo but from cable operators. Networks and their affiliate stations pull in huge amounts of cash from rebroadcast deals. The Aereo model threatens to cut that cash flow off. Several cable companies are already looking to copy Aereo and do a one-antenna-per-customer model to provide local stations, and avoid paying carriage fees. That's billions of dollars the networks could lose. That is why they want to kill this model dead and quickly.

Actually, it's hilarious (4, Interesting)

real gumby (11516) | about 8 months ago | (#45923019)

If you read the plaintiff's pleading before the court (quoted here [arstechnica.com] ):

The decision below has far-reaching adverse consequences for the broadcast television industry, making the need for this Court’s review urgent and acute. The decision already is having a transformative effect on the industry. Industry participants will not and cannot afford to wait for something of this magnitude to percolate before responding to new business realities. And once Aereo’s technology is entrenched and the industry has restructured itself in response, a ruling by this Court in Petitioners’ favor will come too late. The disruption threatened by Aereo will produce changes that will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

They are explicitly saying "our business is changing and we want the courts to stop things because creative destruction [wikipedia.org] is unfair." They are not even pretending that they are trying to do something in the public's interest; they are nakedly asking the court to save the entrenched interest. Pathetic assholes.

Keyword: BROADcast (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 8 months ago | (#45923047)

Aereo gives each individual subscriber their own antenna. That's not broadcasting, it's "singlecasting" at most, but really just time and location shifting.

And besides, if customers are subscribing to for content they can't otherwise get because of where they live, who's losing money here?

Broadcasters have legal responsibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923085)

When you get a broadcast licence, of the sort TV networks have been exploiting since the invention of TV, you not only have to give up a LOT of ordinary copyright protection, but you have a DUTY to ensure as many people in the broadcast region freely receive your service. In LAW, you cannot complain if third parties assist you in your legal duties, as laid down in the licence.

The broadcasters are NOT appealing the Law, but taking advantage of what the sheeple THINK they know about the rights and wrongs of this situation. The sheeple, today, have no concept of the responsibilities imposed by those that hold broadcast licenses, so the sheeple think "dribble, dribble, it's wrong for a third party to do this, dribble". And the broadcasters, like the atrocious Rupert Murdoch, seek to exploit the 'wisdom' of the masses. Indeed, Tony Blair's No.1 propagandist, Murdoch, effectively demonstrated that the law is on the side of companies like Aereo, when he threatened the US public with the close-down of the broadcast Fox channels. Murdoch was seeking support in the public arena, because he understands how the current law works.

No-one forces any company to accept the terms of a traditional TV broadcast licence. Today, more than any other time, companies wishing to offer video services can do so outside the licence framework, at the likely cost of reaching far fewer viewers. It is their choice. Free dissemination, within a defined time window, of their copyright material, to a defined region of potential viewers- or another model that does NOT use the public airwaves.

Thoughts on SCOTUS (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 8 months ago | (#45923185)

I'm rather tired an annoyed how SCOTUS can wreck and change laws by simply interpreting them differently.

Yes sometimes they rule in societies best interests. As they legalized being gay.
Example, Texas tells the court Its legal to be gay but not have gay sex, SCOTUS's comment "and the difference is?" and now being gay is legal.

Eminent domain and how they think the public use now means private use as in developers taking land is ok. And being paid fair market value? No, sorry.

The Whitehouse went to SCOTUS for ACA (Obamacare) for its "mandate" payments that under the tax code are taxes, but told the court it wasnt a tax. The court could have easily agreed with the whitehouse and said "if you say its not a tax, is thrown out" But they said, smells like a tax, its written under tax law, its a tax. Thats the fine line, but making people buy unregulated products aka healthcare and calling it a tax? Cherry pick which pieces to of law to rule on.

Now, pot is legal in Washington and Colorado. An act that could have landed you in PRISON, something how will the court rule on that? Are we suppose to believe something illegal yesterday that could ruin your life if the law was concerned, is no perfectly ok.

Taking the real world action and moving it to the "cloud", the same thing anyone can do legally, but since a company can do it on a mass scale its a crime.
We make all thes laws, rules and regulations to try to protect the public from abusive laws, whats more abusive that keeping technology in the dark ages under some corporate greed?

If we can see federal courts on different sides of the United states DISAGREE on the same cases, maybe we can relialize these courts are holding back innovation and growth with negative laws.

Take patent trolls, some courts kiss patent trolls asses, then some courts rule against them like the Nintendo case.

Then there is Apple suing everying in the world that mentions Android. Android is so big of a tech boost in so many markets in so many diverse sectors, its creating new businesses and ideas.

Bah, its Friday and after 5, enough of this and time to goto the pub.

question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923191)

Hi,

Does someone understand why they need so many tiny antennas ? To me they just need to recveive all the DVB-T multiplexes broadcasted in the area, which would not require more than a dozen of antenna to cover them all . Then broadcast any of the stream contained in the multiplexes to the subscriber ? Basically they don't need an antenna per subscriber.

Or is it that they just build an antenna array which acts as a bigger Yagi antenna who does just that ?

Re:question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45923431)

Hi,

Does someone understand why they need so many tiny antennas ? To me they just need to recveive all the DVB-T multiplexes broadcasted in the area, which would not require more than a dozen of antenna to cover them all . Then broadcast any of the stream contained in the multiplexes to the subscriber ? Basically they don't need an antenna per subscriber.

Or is it that they just build an antenna array which acts as a bigger Yagi antenna who does just that ?

No, they actually have a individual, physical antenna for each subscriber. It's tiny, so they can have a large number of them, and is a fully-functional dedicated antenna. They must do that to have any chance of winning the case and not being required to pay retransmission fees. The key point is that Aereo is not offering programming, they're renting TV equipment, namely the antenna and a DVR connected to the antenna and to the Internet. The DVRs are also dedicated, with a separate tuner and separate disk space for each subscriber. Aereo was very careful to strictly follow the rental model, because they fully-expected to have to defend themselves in court.

Re:question.. (1)

FreeFire (1957226) | about 8 months ago | (#45923499)

Splitting the signal from a few antenna's counts as broadcasting, and broadcasting requires big fees. Using one antenna per customer negates broadcasting. It's necessary for legal reasons, not for any engineering reasons.

Re:question.. (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 8 months ago | (#45923501)

They do one antenna per sub to get around retransmission and license issues. By dedicating A single antenna per user, it's not retransmission. It's more of a relay.

If they grabbed the DVB-T feed, well, first they'd have to get it from somewhere which means a license fee, and lots of boxes one per viewer. It just would not scale as and might run into license redistribution issues.

Broadcasters Threatening to go Cable Only (1)

OrtCloud (1684696) | about 8 months ago | (#45923299)

Where would this leave local affiliates? (last sentence in quote) "Broadcasters say a federal appeals court ruling favoring Aereo created a blueprint that might let cable and satellite providers avoid paying “retransmission” fees to carry programming. With those fees estimated to exceed $4 billion this year, some broadcast companies say they may convert to cable channels if Aereo isn’t shut down. " http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-10/broadcasters-get-u-s-supreme-court-review-in-bid-to-stop.html [bloomberg.com]

Re:Broadcasters Threatening to go Cable Only (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 8 months ago | (#45923567)

The big networks PAY local stations to carry their networks (well, really they pay to get the ads carried; the shows come along for free sorta), and in turn the locals get to act like big shots and ride the branding and sell local ads on whatever they can the rest of the day. They only HAVE to be "CBS yourtown" for a few hours a day. The rest of the time they use that name, they're riding coattails.

If the big networks go away and take their paychecks with them, the local stations would need to find a new business model, which in all likelihood would be a lot more lean and a lot less fat local newscasts. And probably fewer stations too, because there just isn't room for 6-12 full size independent stations in most markets.

There are only SO many ads you can run for truck driving schools and ambulance chasers and weird eccentric furniture or grocery chains. And there are only SO many reruns of 1970s sitcoms you can use to fill airtime. And less really as old SD stuff looks pretty bad on a full HD station.

I would go out on a limb here and say maybe half the existing broadcast affiliates would die if all the big networks went cable/sat only. They'd be obsolete. Buggy-whip and harness salesmen in a world of passenger cars.

Does anybody believe Aereo? (1)

Thagg (9904) | about 8 months ago | (#45923309)

Does anybody really think that there is actually one antenna per customer? And that that antenna is hooked up to a particular DVR? And that that antenna and DVR are connected to just one customer?

I just can't and don't believe it. The 'antenna array' is surely a prop, and the DVR has to be a rack of shared servers.

Re:Does anybody believe Aereo? (1)

peterd11 (800684) | about 8 months ago | (#45923449)

No faith is required, here's a picture of it: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-t8F7nCpS0CI/UZETbB0SToI/AAAAAAAAaC8/nEmfxaAc5Tg/s1600/aereo_antenna_farm.png [blogspot.com] There is also a separate tuner and separate disk space for each subscriber, although probably not as a separate physical DVR.

Re:Does anybody believe Aereo? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#45923707)

Nice!

Cable and satellite are fairly tired of annual negotiations with all the local network broadcasts they need to renew contracts with... it's a hassle for them.

In my heart I believe they would slumber comfortably without this routine.

Re:Does anybody believe Aereo? (1)

FreeFire (1957226) | about 8 months ago | (#45923521)

If Aereo isn't actually using one antenna per customer, then they're broadcasting and they'll lose any fight they have. They have absolutely no incentive not to have one antenna per customer. If you can prove otherwise, I'm sure the Broadcast companies will love you.

The war is already over (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 8 months ago | (#45923459)

This war is already over.

If big TV prevails, they will have successfully defended a dying business model which they will use to insulate themselves from having to evolve in what is a very evolving world, and they will die, frustrated and alone, isolated from the audiences.

If Aereo and the others prevail, they will usher in a new era of content that no longer needs as many middlemen to deliver it, and old broadcast media will wither and die.

Either way, the old way dies. They have received the Hokuto Dan Kotsukin. They are already dead.

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