Comments on: Aereo and the death of broadcast TV A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: Melita Vounas Sat, 18 Oct 2014 05:20:49 +0000 I would love this.

By: TelestreamAV Tue, 10 Sep 2013 07:24:28 +0000 I want to pick up on something a previous commenter said:
“I only watch broadcast TV anymore for live events (sports, awards, breaking news). Would these content owners, e.g. MLB and NHL, continue to license their streams to networks if they lack the built-in broadcast potential of millions of free, local viewers? Or will they go subscription-only too?”

Live content is the last thing that broadcasters have that the internet doesn’t – but even that’s changing. Just look at the fact that the US Open tennis was all live streamed, for example. As soon as I can get live sport and local news online instead of on my television, I don’t need broadcasters anymore, and the valuable spectrum they’re using can be freed up for other uses (i.e. mobile internet, cell phones).

Our company ( does live streaming, and we’re getting a LOT of interest from sporting bodies – my prediction would be that in 15 years, there won’t be any more broadcast TV (I suspect radio will be slower to die, particularly because of its use in emergencies, but it too will go the way of the telegraph).

By: handleym99 Thu, 25 Apr 2013 22:13:29 +0000 “Fox won’t stop broadcasting because Aereo reaches 2000 people… they will stop because if Aereo can stream the content to 2000 people than Cablevision can and will use the same legal loophole to stream the content to 20 million people.”

And explain to me, again, exactly what the great disaster for Fox here is?

TODAY I can watch Fox OTA. If I am technically minded I can buy a mac mini or similar as an HTPC, equip it with 3 or more USB tuners and an external hard drive, and can build myself a kickass DVR.

With Aereo I can instead pay Aereo (or Cablevision) money to watch the same signal on my computer, with much less of the control that my HTPC DVR gives me.

(a) why is this at all compelling for ME, the consumer? Yes, maybe if I live in NYC the OTA signal is crap because of the high rises, AND I’m not in a position to put up a better antenna. This is a ridiculously specialized situation that applies pretty much nowhere else in the country. (Maybe in the very center of Chicago.)

(b) why is this at all frightening for Fox? An Aereo signal is rather LESS amenable to time shifting, ad-skipping, and re-encoding than my customized HTPC DVR. Anyone who seriously cares about these capabilities has them already.

(c) IF Cablevision tries to copy Aereo wholesale
[a] this would require them to deliver the HD signal as broadcast, as opposed to the lowdef crap they are providing today. This is not a free upgrade for them. There is plenty of Coasian scope here for negotiation between them and Fox about how the costs are split.
[b] how does Cablevision technically send out this signal? If they send it as a multicast signal, that provides a very large legal attack front — a multicast signal can be argued as very strong evidence that what is being provided is a PUBLIC performance. But Cablevision does not have the bandwidth to provide every subscribe with the signal they are getting today delivered as an independent IP stream.

The whole thing strikes me as a tempest in a teacup — a series of stupid arguments from the broadcasters (who may have legitimate fears, but are acting every bit as stupidly as print media did when confronted with the internet, blaming the wrong party, trying to solve the wrong problem, imaging they can stop technology) aided and abetted by commenters who believe anything stated by either side in this dispute as gospel rather than dubious claims at best.

By: Nameless Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:48:55 +0000 Interesting, but then, logically, it does not make sense for Cablevision to pay Fox for the right to retransmit the same content that Fox broadcasts to OTA users for free.

Also, it’s a tradeoff. Fox makes a certain amount of money every year in advertising revenues. These revenues are proportional to the number of viewers and we can allocate some fraction of these revenues, call it X, to OTA users. On top of that Fox makes some additional money, call it Y, by letting Cablevision transmit its content through its network.

If X > Y, then Fox would rather let Cablevision “pirate” their content than to shut down OTA.
But, of course, if X>0 and Y>0, Fox would start by making loud threats because, ideally, they want to keep both sources of revenue.

By: y2kurtus Wed, 24 Apr 2013 01:45:02 +0000 Fox won’t stop broadcasting because Aereo reaches 2000 people… they will stop because if Aereo can stream the content to 2000 people than Cablevision can and will use the same legal loophole to stream the content to 20 million people.

I for one hope they do. As a taxpayer I would much rather have a bidding war for the spectrum than to have it stay in the hands of the legacy broadcasters.

By: Nameless Tue, 23 Apr 2013 04:11:09 +0000 I just don’t see Fox or anyone else yanking their OTA broadcasts over the “threat” of Aereo. That would be the ultimate case of cutting off the nose to spite the face. At the present time, Aereo is present in a single market (New York) and it allegedly had fewer than 2,000 subscribers as of last August. Even in the best case scenario, if they expand nationwide, does anyone realistically expect them to get so much market share as to threaten OTA+cable viewership (and therefore advertising revenue) numbers?

By: GRRR Tue, 23 Apr 2013 02:02:50 +0000 I think Aereo is referring to GfK Media’s report last year, showing that about 53.8 million Americans exclusively used OTA broadcasts. The report also indicated that the number of exclusive-OTA users, was GROWING.

If broadcasters yank their OTA broadcasts, I can visualize at least four scenarios not yet mentioned:

A: The FCC will yank back those wireless spectrum licenses, then auction them off for use with wireless data services, as all mainstream TV viewing shifts to the internet. Online advert prices will shoot up, particularly when online adverts will be better targeted to individual households. Ad-supported / no-subs channels will simply move from OTA to online.

B: Companies like HBO, Showtime, etc. may rush to grab those yanked-back FCC licenses, and use them to OTA broadcast their own, syndicated content, thereby further squeezing out the traditional broadcast channels from both ends.

C: A variant of (B), other companies rush in to license rebroadcast rights, such that you might find 10 ION channels with content that is a week (or more) old. SyFy shows are delayed for months before they show up on free Hulu, so similarly, SyFy could license the same content to ION for the same delayed period.

D: The OTA broadcasters simply drive new content to online / cable, while their OTA networks use week-old content. It’s a reversal of Fox’s current model of delaying new content for 8 days before it is made available online, in order to prop up ad prices for OTA broadcasts.

By: JonHocut Mon, 22 Apr 2013 23:34:16 +0000 Felix,

Many people choose OTA over cable because the quality is superior and paying $80 once is highly preferable to paying $50-$120 per month indefinitely.

In Seattle we get the original three broadcasters, WB, a FOX affiliate, and PBS (plus about 40 foreign language and/or religious channels). All of them in fully uncompressed high def.

My wife misses E! and I miss Jon Stewart, but we save $1000/yr and I spend a little bit of it on digital content that we get through our Roku box and the rest goes toward better whiskey and vacations.

By: Nameless Mon, 22 Apr 2013 20:32:43 +0000 Here’s one example showing why OTA is growing in popularity.

I’m in Southern California about 30 miles from San Diego. According to, with a proper antenna, I can receive at least a dozen channels, including CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, and PBS, in high definition quality.

Our local cable TV market is divided between a few companies into non-overlapping regions, which means that I have a choice of 1 cable provider (Cox). Their cheapest package ($22/month) includes a subset (either 6 or 7) of freely-available OTA high-definition channels, and additional 15 or so analog channels. To get all local OTA channels from Cox, I need a package that costs $36/month for the subscription and additional $8.50/month for equipment rental.

In essence, the $22/month package gives me less what I would get for free over the air (ok, not with bunny ears, but with a real roof mounted antenna – I’m pretty far from the city – but still), and I need to pay $44/month to exceed the OTA service.

It makes sense for the cable provider because they want to upsell me to their high end packages with HBO, etc., but it does not make sense for customers who want to save money and just want basic TV.

By: MyLord Mon, 22 Apr 2013 20:19:46 +0000 The sad part is cable has been slow to go digital and still relies on inferior SD for the most part, offering HD only with limited offerings at additional expense. OTA is superior technology. (Meanwhile many still think converter boxes are necessary for OTA, but this is only for pre 2007 TVs.)

I don’t see Aereo as disruptive as it provides only OTA but can provide it mobilely, but if Intel can provide cable channels sans cable, that could be.