Aereo, the controversial startup which lets you watch live broadcast television online, has just launched on both Macs and PCs with support for Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Safari and Opera. This expansion comes in addition to previous support for iOS, Apple TV and Roku devices, but unfortunately for most, the service is still only available to residents of NYC.
As we’ve written before, IAC-backed Aereo relies on an interesting system that has so far kept the service from being shut down, although many have tried. The startup utilizes a tiny antenna and DVR to independently record TV shows for each and every user, which turns Aereo into a remote utility instead of an illegal distribution network.
Innovation & Legislation
It’s reasonable to question how innovative Aereo actually is, given that its solution is largely a workaround from violating copyright laws. The young company certainly deserves kudos for making it this far — especially for its complex and affordable system of tiny antennas — but it’s undoubtably sad that Aereo could be providing the same service more efficiently (with the same exact results), had broadcasters not bogarted emerging technology.
Aereo’s legal troubles are far from over, but competing services like the yet to launch NimbleTV and the upcoming Boxee TV may actually help keep the service afloat, as TV everywhere services become the norm.
For now, this is a great local service for NY’s 8 million+ residents. If Aereo is able to proceed with its expansion plans, cable companies really will have something to fear.
So is Aereo right for you? If you’re the kind of person that can get by on Hulu and Netflix, but love to watch live games or other broadcast programs, there’s plenty of benefits in Aereo’s ~$8 per month service. Check it out via the link below.