By Darren Johnson
Campus News and Nu2U.info
You may have heard that Aereo finally lost its Supreme Court case, 6-3, and is effectively out of business.
News articles are claiming it a big victory for the corporations and cable companies.
The point the articles is missing is that the Aereo service kind of sucked.
I tested it at Christmas time. Aereo gave me a NYC feed. Essentially, the service would let viewers see channels you normally could get via antenna in a region via computer for $8 a month.
The broadcast channels (ABC, NBC, etc.) and cable networks balked. This was stealing, they felt. As it is now, cable companies do pay the broadcast affiliates to transmit their signals. While it is true that a person could also get these channels for free on a TV if they buy an antenna, the court felt that Aereo was acting like a cable company without paying for the content.
I can agree with that. The larger issue was, who would want Aereo?
I picked up a Mohu Curve 50 antenna, which is about 12 inches wide and goes in a window, and got 17 high-definition channels for free — and I live 30 miles from the nearest medium-sized city.
Meanwhile, the Aereo was only available on computer (not via Wii or Playstation, like Netflix) and the image looked pretty crummy.
Plus these were BROADCAST channels. We’re talking lame three-camera sitcoms, formulaic crime dramas and crummy talent shows. Everything good is on the cable channels.
For $8 a month, Netflix is the far better service.
Aereo probably had ulterior motives. Win their case, and then take over various cities. Eventually, for example, someone from Cleveland could watch New York channels; perhaps this might be beneficial if they are a Jets/Giants fan.
Aereo tried to get around the rules by having “antenna farms,” where a tiny antenna (pictured) was allocated to each subscriber. It just seemed sleazy, and the court saw that.
Yes, people are fleeing overpriced cable TV, and something has to be done, but this service wasn’t the answer.