Aereo Sets Chromecast Debut After Court Date

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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