Broadcasters seek to snuff out Aereo before District Court ruling [Update]

Aereo devices
It seems Aereo could be nearing the end of the road and, considering it’s barely hanging on by the skin of its teeth now, broadcasters see this as the perfect opportunity to finally put an end to the drawn-out conflict. According to a report by Broadcasting & Cable, the service’s big network nemeses are hoping to convince the U.S. District Court in New York to impose a nationwide injunction on Aereo, effectively burying any chance that the service may have had to return to business.

Updated 8/22/2014 by Ryan Waniata: Another avenue for Aereo was blocked today, as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, a Federal appellate court, denied Aereo’s appeal of a preliminary injunction on the service. The denial of the appeal is anything but surprising, given that the highest federal court in the land, the Supreme Court, already demanded Aereo shutdown operations. In effect, today’s decision only emphasizes the importance of Aereo’s final plea for reclassification as a cable operator by the U.S. District Court in New York.

A letter issued today by Federal Clerk Clatherine O’Hagan put Aereo’s fate in the District Court’s hands succinctly. “We leave it to the district court to consider whether the issues are poperly raised in these cases…” In other words, all roads point to the court in New York for Aereo’s last-ditch effort to remain in business.

Last month the streaming video startup, whose service the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to be in violation of copyrights held by major broadcasters, was denied a compulsory license to broadcast network TV content as a cable operator would. The license in question – a Section 111: Statutory License for Secondary Transmissions by Cable Systems – is the same license that must be obtained by cable companies to be able to carry network feeds. While the U.S Copyright Office refused Aereo’s request for a compulsory license, it did grant the streaming startup the ability to pay royalty fees in exchange for content “on a provisional basis.”

Related: Aereo CEO asks supporters to let slip the dogs of social media war

But Aereo still hasn’t given up its efforts to be reclassified as a cable company, and now the company is simply waiting for the New York District Court’s ruling on the matter. Aereo, which made its living by re-transmitting network broadcasts to computers and mobile devices via tiny antennae, has been trying everything in its power to get back in business since the Supreme Court shut it down. Since the Court compared the service anectdotally to a cable provider, the service has been striving to gain approval as a cable provider to keep afloat.

Related: Aereo claims cable company status to restart operations

However, the big-boy networks want to end this battle before Aereo even has a chance to legitimize its business model. Legal representatives of the major broadcasters involved (including Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, and others) have said that “it is astonishing for Aereo to contend the Supreme Court’s decision automatically transformed Aereo into a ‘cable system’ under the law,” and that perspective isn’t necessarily far from the truth.

Aereo, as a means of retroactively validating its own actions, keeps attempting to harken back to the Supreme Court’s overruling of a lower court’s decision in which similar streaming startup Ivi wasn’t allowed to be classified as a cable system under the Copyright Act’s stipulations.

But even if Aereo manages to convince the District Court to consider the service’s new claim to be valid through legal precedent, it will still need approval from the FCC and Copyright Office before obtaining cable operator classification. And even then, as the Washington Post touches on in its coverage of the situation, the big broadcasters still want more money than the amount they’d get through collection of royalty fees from Aereo.

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops, so check back with us for any updates on the District Court’s decision regarding Aereo’s fate.


Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.

Tidal faces legal jeopardy over fake stream numbers accusation

In another challenging chapter for music subscription service Tidal, Norwegian authorities have begun a formal investigation into charges that the company faked millions of streams for artists such as Kanye West and Beyoncé.
Home Theater

How much are the initials ‘LV’ worth? $700 if you put them on your earphones

If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds that make as much of a statement about the state of your finances as they do about your high-tech street cred, Louis Vuitton's Horizon earbuds fit the $995 bill.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.

Need a smart speaker? Amazon knocks $50 off Sonos Beam soundbar with Alexa

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent smart sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Home Theater

Walmart abandons its plans for a streaming Netflix killer

Rumored plans for a Walmart owned, Vudu-labeled Netflix streaming killer have been shelved according to a new report from CNBC. The billions it would have needed to invest in order to compete apparently gave the mega retailer cold feet.
Home Theater

Dolby’s secret recording studio app may soon exit stealth mode

In secret testing since June, Dolby's stealth recording and social network app may soon be ready to make an appearance. Dolby 234 blends unique noise-canceling tech with Instagram-like audio filters.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.