Broadcast companies sue new provider

Apr 22, 2014 12:18 AM

The future of TV and the way we watch it could change depending on a case now being considered by the Supreme Court. The major broadcasters including CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox are suing the start-up Aereo for copyright infringement. Aereo, which launched in 2012, streams and records over the air broadcast television for local subscribers. "It's thousands of arrays of individual antennas and one antenna is designated for each subscriber. That antenna picks up that signal and its transcoded and recorded on a cloud DVR and then streamed to your computer," explained Joan Solsman, writer for

While the cost for Aereo's monthly subscription starts at eight dollars, the broadcasters are fighting for billions of dollars that could be lost in retransmission fees for their content. "Aereo's argument is that over the air television is free anyway. Anyone with an antenna can access it and we're just giving them that antenna. The broadcasters say you're basically providing a service like a cable service or a satellite service that's retransmitting our copyrighted content without paying us for it," said Solsman.

If the court rules in Aereo's favor, broadcasters could potentially move their most popular shows from free broadcast channels to cable. The Supreme Court’s decision isn't expected for weeks.

Aereo has expanded to about a dozen cities, with more planned in the coming months. It has faced court challenges along the way, including an injunction that forced it shut down operations in Salt Lake City and Denver.


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