Aereo announced today that its Internet-based television service will be launching in Chicago on September 13. The roll-out will cover 16 counties across Illinois and Indiana, expanding Aereo’s current influence in New York City, Boston and parts of Atlanta.
For Illinois, that includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, La Salle, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, alongside Jasper, La Porte, Lake, Newton and Porter for Indiana.
Aereo said in January that it plans to introduce the 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.
Adding Chicago to its repertoire is certainly a step in the right direction, but the current speed of Aereo’s expansion suggests that it won’t hit half of these markets before the year’s end.
Aereo is a controversial service as it uses a small army of antennas to essentially ‘pull’ the broadcast signal of regular TV programming from the air then pipe it to users over the Internet.
The channels on offer therefore differ from state-to-state. Subscribers in Chicago will be able to watch WLS-TV (ABC), WFLD-TV (FOX), WMAQ-TV (NBC), WBBM-TV (CBS) and WYCC (PBS), among others.
Subscribers have their own designated antenna and uses Aereo’s browser-based portal to record programming on a range of different platforms, rather like a DVR. It even supports iOS devices, Roku hardware and AppleTV, although the latter relies on Airplay for now.
Membership begins at $8 per month for access to Aereo and 20 hours of DVR storage. That can be ramped up to 60 hours of recording for an extra $4 per month, however.
“Consumers want more choice and flexibility when it comes to how they watch television and the enthusiastic response to our technology from people across the country has been humbling,” Chet Kanojia, Aereo CEO and Founder said.
“At Aereo, we feel that we’ve built something meaningful for consumers and we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished. However, there’s still much more to come as we continue our expansion into new cities throughout the summer and fall.”