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Television Cloud Media The Courts

Bye Bye Aereo, For Now 93

Posted by timothy
from the boston-strangler-argument-sometimes-wins dept.
An anonymous reader writes It didn't take long for Aereo to deal with the realities of the U.S. Supreme Court decision. As of 11:30am EDT today Aereo is suspending operations while they go back to U.S. District Court. In order to keep good will with customers during this time, they are refunding the last month's payment for service. curtwoodward (2147628) writes to point out that the decision which has shut down Aereo for now doesn't mean doom for other cloud services: Don't listen to the trolls---the Supremes were very clear that their ruling only applied to Aereo's livestream and things that look just like it. iCloud, Dropbox and friends are fine.
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Bye Bye Aereo, For Now

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  • Listen to the trolls (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @11:40AM (#47340685)

    The Supremes weren't as clear as they wanted, hence the lawsuit by Fox against Dish over Hopper [arstechnica.com] the next day.

  • by djupedal (584558) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @11:41AM (#47340691)
    A Letter to Our Consumers: Standing Together for Innovation, Progress and Technology - An Update on Aereo

    "The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." --Charles Kettering, inventor, entrepreneur, innovator & philanthropist

    A little over three years ago, our team embarked on a journey to improve the consumer television experience, using technology to create a smart, cloud-based television antenna consumers could use to access live over the air broadcast television.

    On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision in favor of Aereo, dealing a massive setback to consumers.

    As a result of that decision, our case has been returned to the lower Court. We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps. You will be able to access your cloud-based antenna and DVR only until 11:30 a.m. ET today. All of our users will be refunded their last paid month. If you have questions about your account, please email support@aereo.com or tweet us @AereoSupport.

    The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.

    On behalf of the entire team at Aereo, thank you for the outpouring of support. It has been staggering and we are so grateful for your emails, Tweets and Facebook posts. Keep your voices loud and sign up for updates at ProtectMyAntenna.org - our journey is far from done.
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @11:51AM (#47340743)

    but they tried to use an loop hole to get out of paying the fees to the OTA channels for the rights to retransmit.

    Dish, directv, TWC, Comcast, WOW and others likely would of done the same if Aereo won to cut there fees.

    Now Aereo can stay around and do the same thing if they pay the fees.

  • Because there's a law that explicitly says "you need a license to retransmit free-to-air TV signals". I think it's bullshit too and it leads to absurdities like this, but the law is extremely clear. In fact, they wrote the damn thing because there was a company with a centrally-located antenna and a lot of people paid to access its signal over wires. Sound familiar?

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @12:35PM (#47340933) Journal

    The charges that OTA channels get to charge cable companies a purely a protection racket. THAT is what should have been made illegal, not Aereo!

    Take it up with Congress. It's not the job of the Supreme Court to nullify lousy laws unless they fail to pass Constitutional Muster. The Cable Act is Congress exercising its power to regulate interstate commerce, so what exactly do you wish the nine to do about it?

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @12:49PM (#47341021) Journal

    Why should anyone pay a fee to re-transmit free-to-air TV signals? I understand that cable channels rely on subscription fees to stay in business, but we're talking about the major networks - ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS - that are broadcast across 94% of the United States at no charge.

    Take PBS out of the equation, because they don't get retransmission fees. They're carried under the must-carry doctrine, meaning the cable company has to carry the local PBS station, but in exchange the station doesn't get any direct financial consideration.

    Regarding the other networks, Congress gave broadcasters two choices: must-carry [wikipedia.org] or retransmission consent [wikipedia.org]. Most broadcasters have opted for retransmission consent, because they see it as a source of revenue that offsets their declining advertising dollars. The economics of the broadcast business have changed and it's debatable that it could survive without this source of revenue. Actually it's debatable that it will survive at all in the long term, in its current form, even with retransmission revenue. Broadcasters will continue to be squeezed financially, retransmission fees won't plug the gap indefinitely, and their ultimate future is probably one of even more reality TV crap (it's cheap to produce) and re-runs. Quality original content will be pay-to-play, with the exception of PBS, which will probably manage to survive on the goodwill of its benefactors (here's hoping), though even that isn't a guaranteed thing.

    As far as why Congress set up this ecosystem, you'd have to ask them. They were trying to fix a lot of problems in the marketplace, MSOs were refusing to carry local channels or re-selling them for profit, which was a problem. As is usually the case, Congress managed to create more problems than they solved, and the legislation was actually passed over GHWB's veto.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @05:03PM (#47342053) Journal

    the day of putting rabbit ears on the TV are largely over

    Those days never existed except for those lucky enough to live within a few miles of the transmitters. These people can still use rabbit ears and pull in quality signals. A friend of mine uses the non-amplified version of this [crutchfield.com], aimed at an inside wall of his house in the direction of the transmitters, and he pulls in the same channels I do. I'm 15 miles out, with a row of trees in the way, so I had to go to one of these [amazon.com], mounted on my back porch, which fortuitously happens to face the transmitters. Growing up I lived about 70 miles out, as the crow flies, and we had to use something like this [amazon.com], on a mast, with in-line amplifiers, and an antenna rotor.

    Regarding 8VSB, current receivers can handle multi-path just fine. You're also overlooking the fact that multi-path was an issue with NTSC as well, leading to ghost images. Digital either works or it doesn't, invest in a quality receiver and proper antenna design (rabbit ears don't count) and you're very likely to end up in the "works" category.

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