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Aereo and the chilling effect

Last updated on July 22, 2020

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.