CBS joins Fox in threatening cable-only broadcasts if Aereo continues to expand

 Leslie Moonves

CBS’s boss is threatening to take the network off the air and turn it into an exclusive cable channel if court battles prove unsuccessful in stopping Internet upstart Aereo from operating and expanding, echoing the same sentiments made by Fox last month.

Leslie Moonves, chief executive officer at CBS, spoke at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, telling the audience that his company had already approached cable operators in New York about Aereo rebroadcasting CBS shows like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory without prior consent.

Aereo has drawn the ire of broadcasters because it takes free over-the-air broadcasts from networks and makes them available to subscribers on computers, iOS and Android devices over the Internet. The contentious debate over Aereo’s business is that it makes money from subscribers, but doesn’t pay anything to the networks to rebroadcast the content. In addition, Aereo lets viewers record shows and fast-forward through commercials, leading to another dispute related to advertising revenues.

CBS’s threat to move to cable-only broadcast would strip Aereo of the ability to rebroadcast anything it airs, but also stop TV viewers from accessing the channel using digital antennas. Aereo recently won a court decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals that allowed it to continue operating and paving the way for an aggressive expansion expected to hit 22 markets by the end of the year. Boston will be the first outside of New York when it goes live on May 15. CBS already unofficially threatened a lawsuit if the Boston rollout goes as planned.

“It’s illegal,” said Moonves, referring to Aereo’s business model. “They’re taking our signal and charging people for it.”

His vehement opposition to Aereo follows a similar threat made by News Corp., the parent company of Fox, last month. Chief operating officer Chase Carey had toed the same line, accusing Aereo of “stealing our signal” and that “we will pursue business solutions” should legal avenues yield no results. He later posited that the network could eventually be turned into a subscription-based service.

Moonves went even further, predicting that networks would begin pulling free content from Hulu and turning that platform into a business more like Netflix, where all content would be accessible only by subscribers. He reiterated previous remarks affirming that CBS wasn’t interested in acquiring Hulu, which is jointly owned by News Corp., Disney and Comcast, among others.

Aereo hasn’t commented on the latest threat, but it looks like this will be a tough fight between the long-standing networks who have owned the TV business and an upstart changing the content delivery method.

Home Theater

Fluance’s four beautiful new turntables arrive with easy-to-stomach prices

Acclaimed audio brand Fluance launched four new turntables as part of its new Reference series, aiming to offer elegant looks and pristine sound to those who are just getting into the world of high-end analog audio.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
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.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Home Theater

Google Assistant gets the Marshall treatment with two new smart speakers

Marshall's Voice-series were already some of the most stylish smart speakers on the market, but now they're available as Google Assistant-compatible editions. This makes Marshall one of the few companies to support both Alexa and Google.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (January 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 December 2018 and January 2019, from new original series to classic…
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

Bolster your HD music catalog with the best high-res audio sites

Music connoisseurs relish HD audio, but scouring the web for all the best streaming and downloading sites can be a pain. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Check out our list, and let the high-resolution good times roll.
Home Theater

What’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in January 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for January 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.