Friday, January 31, 2014

Aereo sells out in New York ahead of Super Bowl, Olympics

An array of Aereo antennae
Aereo's arrays of tiny antennae let consumers watch live, local television broadcasts online.
(Credit: Aereo)
Aereo, the online TV start-up headed to the Supreme Court later this year, has run out of capacity for new members in New York, where the service launched in 2012.
Chief Executive Chet Kanojia confirmed a report by DSL Reports on Twitter.
Aereo, backed by IAC Chairman Barry Diller, offers a cloud-based DVR that lets users record over-the-air programming and play it back on personal devices, charging $8 a month for its cheapest package. The company has not disclosed how many members it has, or how much capacity it has in any given market.
An Aereo spokewoman said Aereo continues to experience strong growth across all its markets, and the company is working overtime to add more capacity. When that capacity is up, "new consumers will be notified that they can sign up and create an Aereo account."
The hiccup comes before two of the biggest broadcast television events of the year: the Super Bowl, which will air Sunday on Fox, and the Sochii Olympic games, which will air on NBC through most of February.
Media companies (including CBS, the parent of CNET) have sued Aereo in multiple states, claiming Aereo violates their copyrights by streaming their broadcasts without paying the networks a fee for the programming. Aereo has said its set-up -- with an individual antenna for every subscriber, and an individual copy of the content for each user -- is the same as operating each member's antenna of his or her behalf, connecting it to the Web, and letting that member use the antenna however they see fit, which is allowed under copyright law. The US Supreme Court will hear the case later this year.
That one-antenna set up also means that when enough people sign up for Aereo in one of it's markets, no more can until more antennas are added.
Aereo launched in New York in March 2012, and since then has expanded to 11 total cities, including Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Baltimore and Cincinnati.
The company aimed to be in 22 total cities last year, but has been held back technical difficulties on top of accumulating legal wrangling.
Its rollout in Chicago, what would have been its biggest market after New York, remains in limbo because of difficulty weatherproofing antennas, and the company has faced problems in Pittsburgh as well.

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