Aereo has announced today that it will be rolling out its controversial Internet-based television service in Boston on May 15.
Consumers who choose to pre-order will be able to access all 28 supported channels on this date, followed by a wider public release for everyone in the Boston metropolitan area on May 30.
The exact boundaries of the service haven’t been specified, but Aereo says it should be able to support 4.5 million consumers in 16 counties dotted across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
It’s a landmark expansion for the company, which until now has only been available in New York. As announced in January, however, Aereo plans to launch its service in Miami, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Cleveland, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, Birmingham, Providence and Madison throughout 2013.
There’s nothing quite like Aereo. Consumers in New York currently pay $12 per month to stream live TV programming from over 20 local broadcast networks, including industry heavyweights such as CBS, NBC and FOX.
The issue is that to access this content, Aereo uses a small army of antennas that essentially ‘pull’ the broadcast signal from the air and pipe it to users over the Internet.
Subsribers have their own designated antenna and can use Aereo’s browser-based service to record programming on a range of different devices, similar to a DVR box. It even supports AppleTV – well, over Airplay anyway – and Roku hardware.
“Aereo is simply the easiest, most convenient way for consumers to access broadcast television online using an antenna,” said Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia. “Consumers deserve more choice and flexibility in how they experience television and Aereo provides them a high-quality, rationally-priced alternative.”
In Boston, users will be able to access 28 over-the-air broadcast channels, including WGBH (PBS), WBZ-TV (CBS), WCVB (ABC), WHDH (NBC), WLVI (CW) and WFXT (Fox), as well as special interest channels such as The Country Network, PBS Kids, Ion and Qubo.
Aereo is facing a number of legal battles with television broadcasters in the United States, but isn’t afraid to stand its ground. The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a case submitted by various broacasters earlier this month, declaring that Aereo isn’t infringing on any copyright laws.
News Corporation COO Chase Carey has also warned that if Aereo continues to operate in its current state, Fox could be pulled as a free over-the-air TV channel in the United States.