Aereo, disruptive TV service, banned by judge
— By Tyler Falk on February 21, 2014, 9:42 AM PST
Please inform me. Is that how things work over there in the US of A? Have some grudge with someone or some company. So you shop around for an ELECTED judge. One due to your election contributions is sympathetic to your cause or simply ill informed about the issue, to grant an injunction in your favour (note the U in proper spelling)? Is it not possible to then shop around for your own judge(s) to do the same thing back? Or invalidate the other judges injunction?
Just trying to get a handle on the US legal system?
I've been using Aereo for about a year now, and have been generally pleased with its performance, and very pleased with the value. (I first heard about it here on SmartPlanet, so occasionally tech fantasies reported here actually do turn into real products or services!) It's been a worthy supplement and soon-to-be replacement for my cable TV service from Comcast. Unlike with my absurdly expensive "basic" cable service which only delvers analog standard-def video with no DVR, Aereo is all HD and works like a DVR. It was nice being able to record all of the Winter Olympics and watching the events I liked at my leisure, and skipping the rest.
The it's the pay-tv providers who should be more upset about Aereo than the broadcast networks and stations. Aereo makes it possible for me to watch more local broadcast television that I otherwise would, which you would think would make them happy. But clearly not.
I watch most of my Aereo programming via Roku boxes attached to the TVs in my home. I can also watch live or recorded content on my desktop, laptop or phone, but rarely do. The only limitation to Aereo that I don't like is that it won't work outside of your home broadcast area. If you are travelling, it won't let you watch your channels or stored content, which I would have loved when I was travelling more. (Although I could easily create a work-around to overcome that with a locally-placed proxy server if I really wanted to)
Even though I have a 10-Gbps cable connection, the picture often gets pixelated, and I used to write that off to the limitations of its streaming technologies. But then last week, I was using one of my Roku boxes at a relative who lives out of town (but near the metro area) with what I considered an inferior AT&T DSL connection, and the picture was nearly perfect almost all of the time. So clearly Comcast is either throttling Aereo, or Aereo has a poor local connection to Comcast's network. Either way, it's another strike against Comcast. Fortunately, Google has announced that they will be deploying their 100Gbps fiber network to my city, so Comcast's days are now numbered.
As for the legal argument, Aereo's "loophole" is novel, and the court could go either way. Basically they are poaching openly broadcast signals, repackaging them, and then selling a service. Or am I really "leasing" a tiny antenna that I can use any way I see fit as I do with the antenna on my house?
My comments for the interests fighting Aereo: What's in it for you if you win? If you get Aereo shut down, I either consume less of your product, or, I simply revert to my own antenna and buy my own DVR. (More up-front money for me, but then free thereafter) Or you could force Aereo into paying licensing fees, which inevitably will get passed on to me. But when that passed on cost pushes the annual cost of Aereo up to more than a few hundred a year, it will make more sense to me to go the DVR route as well and you all will get nothing.
@JohnMcGrew Good luck with trusting Google as your ISP, if you ever do use them.
Google makes it clear that as one of their business missions, they will know everything about everybody. That's not to say that Comcast or Verizon or any other ISP would be worth keeping, but, trust-wise, I would trust Google a lot less than any other company.
Another thing: a company that produces content for TV has a right to control that content, as they wish. They even have warning messages on most of their programming where they state that, reproducing or distributing any part of their programs without written consent, is strictly forbidden and punishable by law. Was Aereo getting permission and paying for the content in order to redistribute it?
The way I see it. This issue is currently before your Supreme Court. The fact that they are even taking the case must mean some validity in law for the argument. Lower courts in New York State have already agreed with Aereo, and it is the FOX network that is appealing yet again, in attempt to shut down competition to their lucrative cable contracts. What I don't understand is how a single Utah state judge can order an injunction on an issue before the Supreme Court, an issue that I might add went in favour of Aereo in NY lower courts. Or does a single Utah state judge trump your Supreme Court?
@adornoe @JohnMcGrew I don't trust anyone. Yeah, I know Google's business model is about collecting information. But that certainly doesn't mean that the others aren't attempting the same. And even if I don't move over to Google, I'll benefit anyway since it will force Comcast, AT&T and any other players to be more competitive.
As I've said here many times before, our notion of "privacy" is going to become quaint very soon, if it hasn't already. That war was lost over a generation ago.
As for Aereo, I admit that their legal argument is novel, and I don't entirely buy it either. But as we've covered here many times before, this is all dealing with disruptive technologies that it's going to take the law some time to get caught up on.