Online TV No Longer in Viewers’ Hands

The way you watch television, whether it would be over-the-air or cable could be changing forever with a decision from the Supreme Court upcoming. After two years of back-and-forth debate and bitter controversy, Aereo, a company that is streaming television online will get their chance to prove its worth against the big boys.

If the networks lose the decision to Aereo, some major players could shut down their over-the-air broadcasts in protest, or even start their own streaming services.

Aereo, based out of Long Island, N.Y., is a service in which customers pay a minimal fee of eight to 10 dollars per month to watch ABC, CBS, PBS and FOX and all other local stations you would normally watch on broadcast TV. The service started in 2-12 and operates in a dozen large metro areas.

Today in court, the two sides will go head-to-head as the broadcast companies will look to extinguish the Aereo services forever, as the broadcast TV stations say that this is taking away from their overall ratings and shares the past two years.

If Aereo were to win the case, there could be major changes for the way that large market cities are shown over-the-air TV. Some large TV stations such as CBS and ABC have threatened to take their station off the air and pull their network from all major lineups. That includes major sporting events including the NFL on CBS and MLB Saturday Baseball on FOX.

If broadcasters succeed, several consequences will come immediately into effect, while other broader results may have a ripple effect for years to come. One outcome that is all but assured is that Aereo, and copycat services like it, will fold and cease to exist.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said its ruling stemmed from a 2008 decision in which it held that Cablevision Systems Corp. could offer a remote digital video recording service without paying additional licensing fees to broadcasters because each playback transmission was made to a single subscriber using a single unique copy produced by that subscriber. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal from movie studios, TV networks and cable TV companies.

Hearings are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET in Washington on Tuesday.

All of the cities Aereo serviced in 2013.
All of the cities Aereo serviced in 2013.

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