What Now for Aereo ... and Its Viewers?

After Supreme Court ruling, streaming firm needs a plan B
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2014 1:11 AM CDT
What Now for Aereo ... and Its Viewers?
Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., stands next to a server array of antennas as he holds an antenna between his fingers.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The Supreme Court has ruled that Aereo's streaming service is illegal—but while execs earlier said there was no Plan B, at least some people at the company appear ready to reconsider, the Atlantic finds. Barry Diller, the year-old service's biggest investor, says "it's over now," but CEO Chet Kanioja tells AdAge that while he is "disappointed" in the ruling, "our work is not done." We "will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world," he says. The company used TV antennas to allow users to stream content publicly broadcast from TV stations, which broadcasters argued violated copyright laws.

Aereo—which charged customers $8 per month—will have to reinvent itself to survive, possibly by coughing up retransmission fees or licensing its streaming technology to broadcasters, NBC finds. For now, customers who don't want to pay cable fees can still watch TV with streaming hardware, apps like Hulu, or even antennas of their own, CNN reports. But as Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissenting opinion, the ruling will have cloud storage and consumer electronics firms "looking over their shoulders" and could scare off people trying to build the next generation of media devices, Vox reports. "The court is sending a very clear signal that you can't design a system to be the functional equivalent of cable," a legal scholar at the University of Maryland says. "The court also emphasizes very strongly that cloud services are different. But when asked how, it says, 'They're just different, trust us.'" (More Aereo stories.)

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