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..
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2013-10-04 Anthony Lawrence
If we define Futurism as an exploration beyond accepted limits, then the nature of limiting systems becomes the first object of exploration. (Frank Herbert)