Aereo is about to break out of its base in New York City and debut its live TV streaming and cloud DVR service to customers in Boston on May 15, which will be the first market as part of expansion plans the company announced a few months ago.
On May 15, Aereo will send special invites to customers who preregistered to get the service, and after May 30, it will open up the service to every consumer residing in the Boston designated market area (DMA). That area covers 16 counties in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire amounting to 4.5 million eligible consumers. Given Aereo’s recent court victory, it’s a wonder if being smack dab in the middle of Comcast’s service area might lead to another fight.
Aereo hasn’t confirmed which market will be next in line after Boston, but the overall plan is to launch to 22 markets across the country by the end of the year. That would mean reaching a possible 97 million consumers in total.
So far, the expansion covers the following municipalities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Providence, R.I., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Tampa Bay, Miami, Atlanta, Birmingham, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, Madison, Wis., Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Denver, Austin, Houston and Dallas.
The legal battle between Aereo and broadcasters bent on stopping the service will continue, despite the former’s recent victory. Broadcasters take issue with the fact Aereo takes live TV station signals and delivers them over the Internet without any payment, while Aereo argues it’s only providing remote access to channels that are already freely available over-the-air. Fox has particularly come out in threatening to pull its over-the-air broadcasts if Aereo emerges victorious again.
Aereo processes these signals by transcoding them first and then pushing them to subscribers via an Internet connection. This works on a number of devices, ranging from Roku and Apple TV, iOS devices and Web browsers. There will be 28 channels accessible through the service when it goes live in Boston.
As expansion ramps up over the next eight months, it will be interesting to see how the legal battle pans out. By then, consumers in the areas set for launch will know if Aereo’s tagline, “No Cable Required”, will last beyond this year.