Now this should be interesting. Nearly a year after its original planned release, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia confirmed that the Android app supporting the company's streaming TV service will arrive on Google Play next month. Aereo is becoming the thorn in every major network's side, essentially allowing consumers to "cut the cord" and record/stream antenna-based TV over the Internet. An Android app should push that thorn just that much deeper.
Kanojia told International Business Times that an announcement regarding the Android app will be made in September, but so far an actual date has not been set. For the uninitiated, Aereo essentially pulls network TV out of the air using thousands of little dime-sized antennas, and pipes that content over the internet and to a subscriber's device. Customers can use the service like a DVR to record content for watching at a later date.
Naturally the networks aren't happy with this method. Viewers are basically bypassing the revenue machine established by networks and cable companies by accessing content that's distributed for free over the air. Physical TV stations aren't directly tied to cable companies or TV networks – they generate revenue from local cable companies retransmitting their signal, and local advertisers. TV networks aren't even paid for over-the-air transmissions, hence the reason why networks believe Aereo is "stealing" their content.
"Aereo is stealing our signal," said Chase Carey, Chief Operating Officer of News Corp back in April. "We believe in our legal rights. We’re going to pursue those legal rights fully and completely, and we believe we’ll prevail. But we want to be clear. If we can’t have our rights properly protected through legal and political avenues, we will pursue business solutions. One such business solution would be to take the network and turn it into a subscription service."
Until the Android app arrives next month, Aereo is available on the iPhone and iPad, as well as PCs and Macs. Subscriptions range from $8 to $12 per month, and Kanojia said that the company only needs a few hundred thousand customers to turn a profit. How many subscribers Aereo has right now is currently unknown, but by taking a glimpse at the company's blog, it's clear that the service is expanding at an accelerated rate.
As an example, Aereo is launching in three major cities in September including Miami, Houston and Dallas. Prior to that, Aereo landed in Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Boston, and more. Aereo originally launched in New York City back in February 2012, and in January 2013 announced that $38 million in additional funding would help the startup launch access points in twenty-two major locations this year alone.
Aereo offers over 30 over-the-air broadcast channels including major players like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CW and PBS. The basic $8 monthly plan includes 20 hours of DVR space, and the ability to pause and rewind live TV. For an additional $4 per month, users can record two shows at once on 60 hours' worth of DVR space.
For many Time Warner customers, Aereo may be the only way they can get content from CBS. The network and its bundle of pay and cable channels still hasn't returned to the TWC roster. Subscribers also can't stream CBS content online, thus forcing them to pull their favorite TV shows from the air, or use a service like Aereo to bypass the blackout.
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