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Aereo TV

© October 2013 Anthony Lawrence


In case you haven't heard about Aereo yet, it is an $8 per month service that delivers your local TV channels (plus a few others) to you over the Internet.

It has been the subject of much controversy and lawsuits attempting to shut it down, but so far it has remained victorious. I say so far because I think it is doomed, but we'll get to that in a minute or two.

In addition to giving you those channels to your computer or tablet or phone, boxes like Roku also can deliver this to your TV. You probably already have that with your cable service, but Aereo just might give you the opportunity to cut the cord if you don't care about any premium channels. For those of us with Netflix or Apple TV, that might be of real interest. It was certainly of interest to me until my wife informed me that she watches Headline News, which is only available through cable.

Well, I'm not sure if the cloud DVR function that Aereo also includes and the access from my TV and iPad makes this worth an extra $8.00 per month, but it still might. We'll see about that.

On other fronts, there is a bill sponsored by John McCain that would force cable companies to offer unbundled channels. That's even more controversial than Aereo, because the people who sell to the cable companies like the current set up very much. They claim that unbundling will brimg higher costs, asserting that people who want to watch ESPN might have to pay $40 a month just for that.

As someone who watches no sports, I say boohoo, because I don't like helping the rest of you get your sports kick. I don't believe the $40 hype either: I'd estimate that there are at least 30 million households who would want ESPN. Am I truly supposed to believe that $120 million a month is required to provide sports coverage? If it is, there is way too much greed here somewhere.

Also, how could ESPN possibly cost more than the typical bundle that includes it costs now?

The other side is that the keep it bundled crowd direly predicts that niche channels will disappear. There may only be a million people interested in the (fictional) "Baby giraffes gone wild" channel. Again, are you trying to convince me that those who are interested wouldn't pay a dollar a month? If you can't keep a niche channel running for a million a month plus your advertising income, there is something very, very wrong.

Well, whatever happens there, the cable TV customers are losing customers because of Netflix etc. and now Aereo. But the broadcast TV stations hate Aereo. So far they have lost in court, but they have a very simple out and that is to beat Aereo at their own game. That is, offer consumers the same Internet access.

Why would you want that? You wouldn't, unless..

Unless they deliberately delayed everything but news by a week or so on broadcast. Pay the monthly fee to get it now (or whenever you want if they really did it right) or wait a week. I know what I'd do.

That would put cable and Aereo a week behind. The TV stations could negotiate with the cable companies to give them current access if they wanted it, but that would kill Aereo. It might drive another nail in cable's coffin too.

Will this happen? I think it might..

Got something to add? Send me email.

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Fri Oct 4 13:39:18 2013: https://bcstechnology.net12332   BigDumbDInosaur


I'm not much of a TV watcher, so most of this doesn't matter to me. TV around here mostly exists to keep my wife happy, which any married man will tell you is always a top priority. :)

I watch the local news, one or two dramas and an occasional smattering of History Channel and Animal Planet. Like Tony, I'm not a sports follower, so ESPN et al are not in the least bit important to me. All told, my TV watching probably doesn't exceed 10 hours a week. I'm fine with the cable setup I have now and would never consider trying to watch TV through the Internet (the idea is rife with potential technical problems, just like VoIP).

That said, the notion of paying less is always intriguing, but my total cable bill per month just isn't enough to motivate me to look for another way. I do have Internet service bundled in with it, and that is where much of the cost exists. I have two static IP addresses (one for each server, with the Linux box doing the routing and NAT) and a very high speed link. I could get the Internet service sans TV and go elsewhere for TV, but then I'd being dealing with yet another monthly bill. Our local provider is very flexible with the TV and Internet options, so that too is a factor.

All of this could change, of course, if I decide to full retire, in which case I'd probably shed one of the static IP addresses and slow down the Internet service to make it more economical. Of course, no one really knows what the future will bring. We all may end up with TV sets implanted in our brains.


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