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TelevisionWe should all be paying attention to the Aereo TV case. Using antennas, the company delivers over-the-air broadcast channels to subscribers’ computers for $10 a month.

Broadcasters have sued. Judges have refused to issue an injunction stopping the Aereo service, which is not available in Rochester. Angered, Fox threatened to make its channel cable-only.

Poynter reports:

Aereo customers pay a monthly or annual subscription fee, based in part on how much digital storage space they’d like. Then, they’re assigned a tiny antenna – no cable box or any other equipment – that’s kept with all other antennas at an offsite location maintained by the company. That antenna allows subscribers to watch live broadcast television on their computer, and they can also save content to watch later.


Broadcasters are “concerned from a revenue standpoint,” said Mike Cavender, executive director for the Radio Television Digital News Association. They worry that online subscriptions to Aereo could cut down on cable subscriptions for the networks – and that could mean less advertising revenue and fewer advertising deals.

I think broadcasters will lose this fight, if not this particular battle. Tired of $100 a month cable bills, 5 million households have cut the cord. It’s a small fraction of U.S. households, but it’s growing. As iPads get cheaper and online video content gets better, people will turn away from their television sets.

A la carte television is coming. We will end up paying for only what we watch. It will be a major disruptive force for the entire television industry. It could directly affect my own job as a TV reporter. But consumers want this kind of choice and services like Aereo will keep popping up to provide it.

Links of the Day:

– Lovely Warren is attempting to paint Mayor Tom Richards as a man without vision who’s focused on big business and downtown at the expense of neighborhoods.

– “He never seemed like a spy.” Albany is riveted by a Bronx assemblyman who wore a wire for four years.

Cuomo’s alleged coup against Silver backfired big time. Meanwhile, criticism of the governor grows, marking the end of his long honeymoon.

– Xerox could change the way electronic devices are made, with tiny chips woven into objects.

– Why is the news media fascinated when a child walks somewhere alone and is not kidnapped, but helped by nice strangers? This is the norm (and it’s not news).

Cicadas are returning after a 17-year sleep.

15 Responses to It’s Coming

  1. Good post Rachel. I agree that conventional TV is going away. However, there is one thing that keeps my cable subscription active: Live Sports.

    I would’ve ditched DirecTV long ago if it wasn’t for live sports. Sure, you can stream NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB for a subscription cost, but I can also get most of these games on DirecTV without the subscription cost and the difference is negligible.

    • April 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm Booored...man...street responds:

      I agree here, watching sports on small devices or with internet hiccups sucks, nothing beats a live game on a big screen and I wouldn’t want to have to go to a sports bar every time I wanted to see a game.
      Interestingly enough, it’s the incredible at-home experience that is hurting live game attendance. Who wants to pay $150-200 (lowish estimate) for a day at the Bills game when you can stay home and watch them lose? If I could go to the Bills tailgate and then go and watch the game on TV I would.

  2. April 10, 2013 at 10:42 am theodore kumlander responds:

    I will tell you what is killing Time Warner is their refusal to upgrade the equipment. I have had 3 of the DVR boxs in the past 12 month and the are old and worn out and do not work very well , and when i call T/W no one seems to care much.

    But isn’t that the american business model.

  3. I fail to understand Lovely Warren. She apparently has major issues with Tom Richards, and refuses to say what they are.
    She’s President of City Council. She has every opportunity in the world to work with Richards to accomplish mutual goals. And she could obviously be the heir-apparent in 4 years.
    So, what’s her motive in making the push now? All she’s going to accomplish is split the party. What sense does that make?

  4. April 10, 2013 at 11:16 am sflesch responds:

    As I understand it, Fox is complaining about not getting money. Couldn’t they just consider these people subscribers and charge more for their commercials?

    If I am reading this correctly, you can only get the channels in your local area, so it’s not really any different than say if the users have slingbox or a similar device.

  5. April 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm lynn e responds:

    The losers in ala carts TV will be news networks. They are the most expensive channels to run and it could spell an end for them. As for Lovely Warren, I am interested in how it will play out. Tom Richards seems callous and barely city oriented to me in doing what is right for residents. When Cuomo came, they took an RTS bus without the usual riders and only showed business places, the residents of the city were ignored and were not meant to be seen. Apparently the only time they are relevant is when you need their votes. The MCC downtown discussion was all about what was supposedly good for the city not the MCC students or faculty. After all the years it has been there, promises to do better were made only after it wanted to move and then supposed design looks too good to be believed. All in a building where a wealthy company didn’t even see fit to pay taxes on the property for years. Opinions of people who use MCC were ignored and not taken into account, there was just this mantra that it had to stay in the Sibley building. Just sounds like the silliness that led to the Medley Place disaster. It would not surprise me if Tom Richards knew many people in the city other than those who work in government. I’m interested in what Lovely Warren will say or do.

  6. The Internet has made television redundant. I have no use for it.

  7. April 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    The FCC needs to stop being so deregulatory and stop these and maybe even go back to analog antennae reception as digital cuts in and out, though I like some of the additional local DTV channels. There is also the worrysome possibility that there may not be over-the-air TV reception anymore, and I can’t afford, home internet access, cable, or satellite. Enough of negative changes!

  8. April 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm Derek Sanderson responds:

    ” During an extended two- year honeymoon as governor, and the previous four years as attorney general, Mr. CUOMO and his staff assiduously warded off hints of dissent and disobediance. They scripted praise for outside groups to recite, removed some of Mr. CUOMO’S potentially troublesome records from pubkic view at the state archives, and effectively silenced many by making it known that they ” never forget” slights and that they ” operate at two speeds- get along and kill.”

    ” After Long Honeymoon, Criticism of Cuomo Begins to Mount”

    New York Times
    Danny Hakim
    April 9, 2013

    Didn’t Cuomo try to sell the oublic on being ” transparent”? Sounds like it was a bunch of crap.

  9. The thing never mentioned about tv and radio is that the companies have no Right (capital r) to broadcast ‘over the air’. The airwaves belong to The People and companies MAY request permission to use them and if approved they must pay US for that use. The same is true for cell phone companies as they are taking up radio frequency bands (there was much discussion about this when first responders were forced to move to different parts of the spectrum so cell companies could ‘buy more air’.)
    But Americans have been conditioned by the business class to think if something exists it exists for business purposes to exploit first and foremost. Look at animal grazing, logging, mining and many other industries that use extremely low cost (as in below market value) leases on federal land to make their companies viable. A mining consortium has no Right (again capital r) to mine on land the Feds (and thus The People) own, but that isn’t how it is presented on the news. You know, the corporately owned news networks, that use The People’s airwaves to modify your view on subjects it see’s fit to instead of presenting facts.
    Still don’t get it? Think about the ‘equal time clause’ in elections. It is mandated because WE own the airwaves and WE should be able to hear from all (not both) sides on issues during elections, not just the ones a network or channel decides we should hear from. WE have the Right to tell companies using our resources; be they the airwaves, water, ground, grass or gas, what they can and cannot do with them and WE have the Right to force them to pay a fair market value for them.
    I dropped cable (other than Road Runner) about 2 years ago. I pay $120 annually for a online subscription to a motorcycle race series (18 race weekends) that provides me with 4-5 times as much content than any channel available offers and is shown live. I use Netflix and a digital antenna along with a Roku to get my programming or I plug my laptop into my tv and stream directly. I also use Sirius radio almost exclusively for radio and it allows me to avoid commercials and pledge drives and opens up a whole world of entertainment unavailable on broadcast radio.
    I know that means less money available to pay people like you Rachel, but the good ones like you have seen fit to expand their own marketing which will (hopefully) pay a dividend in either a higher salary or subscriber/appearance/????? fees.
    Remember this, you used to be able to homestead, because this was OUR land. Find your land, follow the rules and eventually gain title to it. The gov’t (at the behest of whom??????) ‘closed’ the frontier so you no longer have the Right to homestead or even to live freely on federal lands. You now must, by law, move every 2 weeks I believe and I’m sure plenty of overzealous Border Patrol/BLM/various other militarized police agencies still try and run people off…… but those who are funding the egos and ambitions of politicians are given unfair breaks on leases to that land which not only provides them with an unfair economic advantage but also precludes YOU/US from access to OUR national resources, even the ones we can’t see.

  10. so you pay someone to stream free broadcast tv to your computer?

  11. From what I’ve read this company has a building with a boatload of tiny antennas inside. You ‘buy/lease’ the antenna and they take the signal they receive through ‘your’ antenna and send it to you online, with their equipment, so you can watch anywhere. It is legal because you bought an antenna and are therefore receiving your over the air tv just as you would if the antenna was at your house, the antenna just happens to be (I think) in Brooklyn but you are still capturing OTA tv signals you are entitled to as an American. You are paying a fee for the cost of retransmitting it over their internet equipment and the space your antenna takes up in their warehouse. Like if someone held a phone up to the radio so you could hear a broadcast from wherever they are over your phone.
    I grew up down the street from a guy who had what was probably the last mega antenna in Irondequoit. I’m sure he got tv from Baltimore on that thing if he used it for tv and probably could get west coast radio at night the thing was so tall. Most places used codes to eliminate those towers just like how some places tried to stop people from installing dishes on their house because they ‘looked ugly’ (which I belive is illegal now). I remember a bar here (Bathtub Billy’s maybe) who rigged up a mega antenna to get Bill’s games from Syracuse when they were blacked out here and the NFL freaked out. I can’t remember the outcome of that case and since that is a bar it might fall under rules/regs a plain old citizen doesn’t but that would be a good case to review.
    If Fox wants to leave broadcast tv then let them. Nobody ever thought the NFL would be ‘allowed’ to have games on cable since stadiums are partially pad for by communities and were ‘expected’ to broadcast games locally but they not only have them on non-OTA channels, they own their own non-OTA network. I can see where the NFL (like the motorcycle race series I mentioned, which is the premier class of racing worldwide so it is the ‘NFL of bike racing’) will eventually give up on free tv all together and say ‘get cable/dish, buy a season pass for online watching, go to a game in person or don’t watch’. That should be a final straw in public funding of stadiums but probably won’t be. (Remember when Amerk’s and Red Wing’s games were regularly on OTA tv? That was just 10 or so years ago).
    I was also going to say earlier that a simple reminder that the airwaves, etc. our Ours is that the CB in CB radio stands for Citizen’s Band. They are The People’s airwaves to talk, uncensored and at will, on. HAM radio requires a license and I assume this is because the airwaves they broadcast on can travel much further than CB ones, but they are Ours to use, not corporations…… unless they are willing to pay for it. (I don’t know much about CB or HAM radio but did grow up in the Breaker Breaker heyday of the 70’s.)

  12. I just don’t see the point when I can buy a simple antenna for my TV. They make good indoor ones that aren’t really bad. I guess $80 a year for the DVR function isn’t bad, but most of the broadcast networks let you watch from their website. I just don’t see the point of paying for something for what I can get for essentially the cost of a TV antenna.

    • April 11, 2013 at 7:13 am Sean A. Flesch responds:

      I think it’s for people on the go. They don’t have to have bulky equipment at home and always be at home to watch. For $8/mth, you can be on the bus, at lunch, etc. watching your shows.

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