Last week brought sad news for subscribers of the over-the-air streaming service Aereo when the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the opposing broadcasters, reversing a lower court decision by declaring that the streaming service violates live TV stations’ copyrights. Aereo has since suspended service and offered refunds until it can work out the details on how it will proceed. But a St. Louis-based company has stepped up to the plate to offer a free antenna -along with a couple other necessaries – to the first 1,000 Aereo subscribers to hit them up.
Antennas Direct is sending out a ClearStream 2 Complete antenna with a 50-plus mile range, 30 feet of coaxial cable, and 20-inch J-mount for anchoring to any Aereo subscriber willing to upload a billing statement for their service and pay $10 for shipping. The firm claims you’d normally spend about $130 on a bundle such as this.
Aereo is at the forefront of the OTA HDTV movement, but many proponents of the technology have – since the Supreme Court ruling last week – come out of the woodwork in celebration of the popular streaming service’s demise.
On the same day that the Supreme Court handed down its ruling, Antennas Direct published a blog post, titled “Ding-Dong, Aereo is Dead,” that succinctly laid out its argument against Aereo’s business model: “For some time, Aereo has cast itself as a star in its own underdog drama. It wanted to be the proverbial David. The fatal error Aereo made was thinking the American people were too stupid to see through their little myth. All along, there have been loopholes in this story…” The post goes on to explain that the streaming service essentially charged people for what is already available for free. Aereo sold the idea to so many subscribers by dressing up its service as something it simply wasn’t. By referring to its antennas as “microantennas,” the company convinced its customers that it had a unique form of hardware that was worth paying for each month – in reality, Aereo was doing what many could already do: access local, broadcast HD content via antenna. However, Aereo did supply the content to its customers’ smartphones, tablets, and computers, a form of service that requires equipment purchases, Internet access and setup time for a private party to arrange for themselves.
The death of Aereo as we’ve come to know the service is not the death knell for free OTA HD content. Indeed, there are many, many different combinations of software and hardware that the savvy customer can use to create their own OTA system. If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve assembled our own list of both ready-to-go and DIY setups for nabbing content out of the air.
Taking advantage of Antennas Direct’s offer is as simple as filling out a form. For more on the Supreme Court and its many complexities, as well as Aereo’s response, check out our coverage of the ruling and its implications.