TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Future of TV hinges on high court ruling on antenna technology

AP
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. Past efforts have typically been rejected by courts as copyright violations. In Aereo’s case, the judge accepted the company’s legal reasoning, but with reluctance. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Washington Post
Monday, April 21, 2014, 5:36 p.m.
 

An obscure Internet start-up is roiling the television industry with old-school technology: the antenna.

Aereo uses thousands of tiny antennas to capture broadcast television programs, then converts the shows into online video streams for subscribers in 11 cities.

What Aereo doesn't do is pay licensing fees to the broadcast networks that produce the programs. And that has put Aereo at the center of a fierce debate over the reach of copyright laws, the accessibility of public airwaves and the direction of television.

This week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a civil case filed against the two-year-old private firm by ABC, CBS, NBC and major broadcasters alleging that Aereo is no different from cable firms that are required to pay hefty fees to rebroadcast their shows.

“Quite simply, Aereo takes copyrighted material, profits from it and does so without compensating copyright holders,” said Gordon Smith, the president of the National Association of Broadcasters.

But Aereo argues that it is entitled to draw freely from programs transmitted on public airwaves. If successful, the argument has the potential to blow apart the expensive channel bundles that have been forced on American households and to radically reduce the cost of watching television.

“Aereo has a shot at changing the TV business model,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge and a former antitrust official at the Justice Department.

An Aereo victory could dramatically change the way people watch their favorite programs. Sports and popular shows that are available only on broadcast TV or cable television could be accessed more conveniently and cheaply over the Internet.

D.C. residents Katrin Verclas and Bob Boorstin are anxious for a way to cut their cable subscription, but they've kept it for baseball games. They cringe at the thought of paying $130 a month for cable so Boorstin won't miss Nationals baseball games.

With Aereo, baseball streaming site MLB.TV and maybe another app, they would gladly use the Internet for their video news and entertainment.

“I never watch TV — all online all the time,” Verclas said. “I'd rather spend money on faster Internet than hundreds of channels we never watch.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Feds eye use of federal dollars for ads for for-profit colleges
  2. Christian college in Illinois to stop providing health care over Obamacare
  3. OSU band song mocked Holocaust victims
  4. Highway bill on Obama’s desk extends funding 3 months
  5. Fetal parts in Planned Parenthood lab shown in 4th video
  6. Minn. dentist laying low in slaying of lion
  7. VA whistle-blowers aghast
  8. Piece of plant found on island on way to France for analysis
  9. Defense chief approves arming more troops at soft sites
  10. Geological gem The Wave on Arizona-Utah border draws worldwide visitors
  11. Ex-Cincy cop pleads not guilty, posts bond