FilmOn, a site that streams broadcast network content online, has always been a bit of an afterthought when compared to Aereo, which is much more well known. The first name FilmOn adapted, Aereokiller, should give some insight into the contentious relationship between the two. But FilmOn’s new innovation, dubbed Teleport Technology, threatens to shake-up the streaming landscape in a whole new way, and could make the company a much bigger part of the conversation.
Aereo and FilmOn’s original design concept is based around tiny antennae, which users rent for a fee. The antennae allow them to stream and record content from TV stations. After playing second fiddle to Aereo for years, FilmOn’s newest service breaks free of the antenna chain, so to speak, creating a whole new way to watch that could garner a wider audience.
The so-called Teleport Technology provides users with access to a network of hundreds of thousands of antenna-equipped remote desktop computers, essentially renting access to the devices instead of the antennae. FilmOn says the new method creates a way for users to view what they want, where they want, when they want it. After gaining access to the remote desktops from their home screen, users will be able to watch local content from 13 markets, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Boston, Tampa, Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, and Washington DC.
FilmOn’s founder, Alki David, suggests the company’s new “dynamic distribution” of broadcast content will not only help to revolutionize how people watch, but will be a boon to independent broadcasters by empowering them with new tools. David also said that FilmOn’s new tech will help disrupt the major broadcasters’ attempts to stifle innovation, saying the TV industry is at a crossroads that’s similar to the saga which surrounded the Napster era of music distribution of the late 90’s.
For their efforts to stream network content without securing licensing contracts, both FilmOn and Aereo have been embroiled in legal battles with Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS, among others. While Aereo has skirted legal injunctions in most cases, the company’s troubles are linked in no small part to two major court battles that FilmOn lost. Not to be left out, FilmOn has asked to join in on the approaching party at the Supreme Court.
FilmOn’s new streaming method will no doubt be met with massive resistance from those who control the top four broadcast networks, but the company seems to welcome the challenge.
We’ll have to wait and see how things shake out in the courtroom, but for now, it looks like innovation has scored another victory for the little guy.