Video services

Does Aereo Have a DVR Precedent?

That Aereo Inc. debacle isn't finished, and it leads off Friday's look at cable and broadband news.

  • Wednesday's court victory for Aereo might be tenuous. Judge Alison Nathan's decision to not block Aereo's TV service was based on a very literal reading of a famous Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) suit, according to an analysis on the Fortune website Thursday. In Cablevision's case, network DVRs were declared legal because the DVR copy of a show isn't intended for public consumption -- it's created for one subscriber. Aereo's service, which redelivers broadcast TV by sending it over broadband, is philosophically the same.

    One distinction: Cablevision was paying for the content that went into a DVR copy. Aereo isn't. Judge Nathan even wrote that Aereo's was created "in reliance on the assumption that the Second Circuit meant what it said in [the Cablevision decision] rather than what it did not say " -- more the letter of the law than the spirit.

  • Of course, broadcasters have appealed the Aereo decision, as The Hill reported late Thursday. For an overview on what Aereo's doing, see Aereo Makes Cord-Cutting Bid in NYC.

  • The U.S. Department of Justice does appear to be the major remaining roadblock to the $3.9 billion spectrum deal between Verizon Wireless and several cable companies. The Wall Street Journal cites sources that say that the DoJ is still concerned that the deal hurts consumers. Antitrust officials are said to be worried that a deal between Verizon and the cable companies could essentially lead to an agreement not to compete for Internet users in each other's areas. (See Verizon Spectrum Debate Escalates.)

  • In fibering up Kansas City, it's possible Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) intends to offer 1Gbit/s Internet access to every home, for free, as Bill St. Arnaud explains on his Free Fiber to the Home blog. (See also: Google Fiber Goes 100 Miles & Counting and Google Gets OK for Video Over Fiber.)

  • Russian cable and broadband provider Akado has lifted its suspension on broadcasts by the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) , Cable News Network and Bloomberg TV for repeatedly ignoring its requests to obtain licenses, Bloomberg reports Friday. The ban was put in place on July 10, but Akado agreed to lift it after the government's licensing authority said it would step in.

  • AMC Networks Inc. 's ongoing carriage dispute with Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), meanwhile, is forcing the cable network to go over the top. AMC is inviting Dish customers to stream the premiere of its popular Breaking Bad series live at 10 p.m. on Sunday. (See Pay-TV Providers Drop Channels & Fight Fees.)

    — The Staff, Light Reading

  • Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:28:01 PM
    re: Does Aereo Have a DVR Precedent?

    Addendum: Diller thinks Aereo is ready to spread to a lot of other major markets in the next 18 months.


    Nice idea, and it would be interesting to see. But I can't get around the thought that the only thing keeping Aereo legal is an outdated definition of "retransmission."

    Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:28:01 PM
    re: Does Aereo Have a DVR Precedent?

    I want it on the record that I'm not the one who wrote the Breaking Bad item!

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