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Aereo: Cloud-based DVR Streaming Public Broadcast TV

Web TV is supposedly the next big thing, but Aereo goes a whole different direction by providing public broadcast TV and other channels to your iPad or Safari browser (for PC and Mac users). In addition to streaming these channels to your browser, they also allow for Digital Video Recording or DVR on their cloud servers which you can playback as you want, just in case you didn’t manage to catch the live show. According to Aereo, the way it works is that they’ve made an antenna so small you can fit it on your finger tip and they stream the content from their cloud-based servers. As part of the SaaS subscription you get the ability to record future and live shows which are all stored on Aereo’s cloud-based servers.

So far, the main limitations about this startup’s service is that all of the channels available are over-the-air public broadcast channels and the service is only available in New York City, with no plans for expansion just yet. Early reviewers of the service have stated that the picture quality and clarity are as good if not better than cable, with HD channels on the Aereo service providing the same level of picture quality. Since it is tied to Safari the browser, it is optimized for use on iOS devices such as the Apple iPad and iPhone (and Apple TV through AirPlay). However, you can also watch it on the PC, although reviewers have said that the quality is a bit less and a bit more buggy compared to watching it on an iOS device. The subscription costs $12 per month (which is a bit higher compared to Hulu and Netflix) after the initial free trial.

Aereo is backed by billionaire Barry Diller and as such has quite a solid footing in terms of financial standing. However, recently it has been sued by TV broadcasters such as Fox, who have basically said that they want their cut for rebroadcasting fees. Aereo founders were actually expecting this and have promptly countersued, twice, stating that what Aereo is doing is on the same lines as Radioshack selling a standard TV antenna. While Aereo’s DVR service adds a bit more dimension to the case, the content is not available outside of the Aereo cloud, so this should not cause any complications in the long run.

By Muz Ismial

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