Antenna-supported Web TV service Aereo TV is set to roll out into 22 additional US cities in late spring following a series B round worth $38 million.
The announcement was made at the Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications conference at CES. The round is led by IAC and Highland Capital Partners, which made a follow-on investment alongside FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital and others.
The company confirmed the expansion on its main Twitter account, but didn’t mention its new funding. It also created dedicated Twitter handles for each city it is expanding into, and encouraged users to sign up on its site to get an invite.
Aereo TV has confirmed that each market will feature its Try for Free feature, which let users test the service for a continuous one-hour period each day, free of charge.
While Aereo TV was only available in New York City until now, today’s announcement isn’t exactly a surprise. As we reported a few months ago, its billionaire backer Barry Diller had announced that the service would operate in most US major cities by 2013, so this is likely only the start of its plans.
Aereo TV’s model is both clever and controversial. As a matter of fact, its clients don’t need a cable subscription to watch broadcast TV, as they can watch and ‘DVR’ re-routed TV signals on multiple platforms for a $8 monthly fee. Unsurprisingly, this has already resulted in a series of lawsuits against several US TV networks, although these haven’t yet stopped the company from operating.
Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia is also bullish on defending the company’s approach:
“Watching television should be simple, convenient and rationally priced. Aereo’s technology provides exactly that: choice, flexibility and a first-class experience that every consumer deserves.”
Aereo describes its upcoming launches as the first phase of its nationwide expansion. The 22 cities it selected are Boston, Miami, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia,Pittsburgh, Tampa, Cleveland, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham (NC), Salt Lake City,Birmingham (AL), Providence (RI), and Madison (WI).
Image credit: Aereo TV