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Aereo Sets Chromecast Debut After Court Date

Mari Silbey

More than a month after the April 22 Supreme Court date that could determine Aereo's fate, the streaming video company plans to debut an updated Android app with Google Chromecast support.

Starting on May 29, Aereo Inc. said it will introduce functionality that will allow subscribers to "cast" Aereo content from computers and mobile devices to any Chromecast-connected TV. Currently, Aereo subscribers can access video from the service on the living room screen by connecting either an Apple TV box or a Roku streaming device. Aereo is also supported by several desktop computer browsers and by Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia originally announced at SXSW that the company's Chromecast-enabled app would go live in March, but the company has had its hands full with other technical and legal challenges. In addition to running out of capacity in the New York and Atlanta markets -- a technical issue that was never fully explained -- Aereo is in the throes of a battle with broadcasters over whether its cloud-based TV and digital video recording service runs afoul of content licensing laws. That fight will come to a head on April 22 when Aereo and broadcasters bring their dispute for oral arguments before the Supreme Court. (See Aereo App for Chromecast Due This Month.)

At issue in the legal suit is whether individual video streams from dedicated antennas maintained by Aereo should be considered private performances, and therefore not subject to retransmission rules. As Kanojia described it at the ACA Summit in Washington last week, a TV show is considered private when it is streamed across a home network. The question now is how long that wire can extend and still be considered a conduit for a private performance. (See Rep. Rips Retrans 'Racket' .)

Kanojia acknowledged Aereo's legal challenges at the ACA Summit, saying, "This is not for the faint of heart." But he also said he would do it all again if given the chance. "Absolutely," he said. "This is the best job."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
4/22/2014 | 10:21:31 AM
Re: Timing
Putting on the show of confidence is his job as CEO, but it won't matter if the judges don't agree just like the one in Utah.
User Rank: Blogger
4/17/2014 | 8:18:03 AM
Re: Timing
I'll recall my questioning of confidence. Just saw CEO Chet being "interviewed" by Katie Couric and Yahoo! News and he sounded pretty confident. You don't go toe-to-toe with Katie unless you're sure of yourself.
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/16/2014 | 3:53:14 PM
Re: Timing
Well it probably takes a lot of integration, testing, software updates, etc so this way they announce they are doing a deal with Google, it makes Aereo more attractive (and reconsider legal threats since Google has so much cash).  Maybe the broadcasters will get a clue and think, okay this is only good news, everyone is moving to OTT, so if we want to keep eyeballs, we should actually work with these guys instead of acting like 3 year olds and instead of playing in the same sandbox and helping eachother we are just going to pour out all the sand and walk away whining. Instead they could focus on more advanced ways to get their content on Apple TV, Google, Amazon Fire, Roku, Mohu, etc.
User Rank: Blogger
4/13/2014 | 9:01:06 PM
Pretty curious decision, given that the Chromecast launch could have brought them more public support and awareness in advance of the court date. are they suuffering a crisis of confidence that they can win?
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/13/2014 | 7:22:17 PM
As We Await the Decision....
..I have a sneaking suspicion that the currently "big three" (Google/Roku & Amazon) won't sit idly by either and work to somehow figure out a way to by pass the traditional providers that we have also deliberated here.   The disruptive technology that Aereo is the latest rendition of will be before us.   The challenge is for the big three in this space not to disrupt.      
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/13/2014 | 1:10:58 PM
Re: Wishing them the best....
If Aereo does "succeed" in its court challenge, then I would expect that the cable carriers might simply come out with a similarly priced Chromecast app since they already have the rebroadcast rights to regular TV and wouldn't have to go through the Rube Goldberg path of having teeny antennas inside the Empire State Building which then route the signal (back on) to the Internet.

For that matter, subscribers to services like DirecTV additionally get streaming computer services for many channels as an option right now.

And what about the stations themselves?  Much like Netflix or Facebook, isn't it in their own interests to push their live stream to Chromecast?

User Rank: Light Sabre
4/12/2014 | 6:06:08 PM
Re: Wishing them the best....
Aereo is an interesting case of using technology to disrupt the traditional order of content delivery. The company is doing what it does because technology is allowing them to. As for the legality of it, that's for the courts to decide. 

It will be interesting to see what kind of precedent this will set on digital content delivery. 
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/12/2014 | 1:26:29 PM
Re: Wishing them the best....
This Aereo case will certainly be interesting when the court finally rules. But, I suspect there will be continuing issues even after a decision. Aereo's Chromecast announcement will certainly bring them some public support as who doesn't want to have a fairly inexpensive solution to the high costs of cable and satellite subscriptions. Whether they'll be able to survive the copyright issues over a longer term will be interesting to watch.
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/12/2014 | 1:03:05 PM
Wishing them the best....
The road to change is always full of swamps and mines.   Aereo has certainly shaken things up.     I wish them well as they await the pivotal ruling that would determine whether they sink or swim.

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