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Aereo TV Suspends Operations

29 Jun, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As expected, Aereo TV has paused service of its subscription TV streaming operations, effective June 28. The New York-based service that allowed subscribers to stream live and recorded local TV programming said it would refund subs their last paid month.

The future of 3-year-old Aereo TV, which was backed by media mogul Barry Diller, was put into doubt June 25 when the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision in favor of the service. The court declared Aereo to be a quasi multichannel video program distributor and not just a technology equipment provider — in this case mini digital antenna and cloud-based DVR.

As such, Aereo was violating intellectual copyrights by not paying content holders and media companies retransmission and content license fees, among other issues. The original lawsuit included most broadcasters and media companies as plaintiffs.

In a June 28 email to subscribers, founder and CEO Chet Kanojia thanked supporters and said it was “mapping out” its future. Indeed, network broadcasters and media companies have never disputed the technological advancements offered by Aereo or the growing market for mobile access. They just wanted to get paid for their content — a reality Aereo had sought to circumvent by declaring itself a digital version of an old analog TV set that delivered over-the-air signals.

“The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over-the-air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud,” Kanojia wrote. “We want to encourage Aereo customers to keep their voices loud and sign up for updates at ProtectMyAntenna.org, as our journey is far from done.”


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