Tag Archives: Aereo

Aereo and the chilling effect

It’s not unusual for both sides to kick up the rhetoric during a contentious court case. Such has been the case with Aereo, which will soon defend its right to continue offering its service before the U.S. Supreme Court. Should it win, broadcasters such as CBS and Fox have vowed that they will take their programming off the air and distribute only through cable, That’s a tantalizing option for those who would like to see such prime spectrum reallocated to wireless data.

A defeat for Aereo would be a loss for consumers, but the chilling effect would be limited. Aereo’s service, of course, applies only to broadcast television and the specific legal issue revolves around the legality of having a remote antenna sending OTA broadcasting over broadband. When one considers the future of television, it seems pretty certain that OTA will give way to native IP streaming of some sort. Consumers want to hold on to as much right to view content as they see fit. But if one wants the functionality of Aereo, there are marketplace alternatives that don’t face such legal challenges.

Boxee TV lands between the living room and cloud

The new Boxee TV, like the original Boxee Box, is also produced by D-Link. But there’ll be little issue setting something on top of this one. Indeed, that’s what Boxee has figuratively done, stacking over-the-air DVR functionality on top of the Internet content that was delivered by the original oddly-angled cubazoid. The Boxee TV model is somewhat of a cross between Simple.TV and Aereo. Like the former, Boxee TV is a local device. Like the latter, though, it relies on cloud storage rather than local storage and unlimited local storage at that. Boxee TV will cost $99 and the company has struck a deal to blow it out at Walmart. Thus, not surprisingly, Walmart-owned Vudu will be one of the featured broadband TV launch partners along with Netflix.

Alas, there’s a monthly fee: $15 per month independent of any other services,. Like Aereo, Boxee will be offering access to all the recorded video via a Web app that should cover most services. So, it seems that Boxee, like Simple.TV, is courting the cord-never, or at least seeking to bring a bit of flavor of TV Everywhere to that crowd. Unlike Aereo, Boxee TV actually uploads recordings to the cloud, so it may be able to maneuver more deftly around legal challenges.