US Supreme Court to decide Aereo's future

Editor | 11-01-2014

The future of controversial US over the top (OTT) service Aereo will indeed be settled by the the United States Supreme Court after it granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in the matter of a law action by leading US broadcasters.

Backed by leading TV industry figure Barry Diller, Aereo enables users to stream over the air broadcast TV signals to a range of connected devices such as tablets, phones and laptops, AppleTV (via Airplay) and Roku boxes. It is currently available to people in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Baltimore.
In December 2013, the much-sued company decided not to challenge broadcasters’ desires to take it to the US Supreme Court to rule on its legality, saying that it welcomed a resolution of its right to existence.
Aereo’s argument is that it merely provides antenna and DVR technology that consumers can use to tune an individual, remotely located antenna to make personal recordings on a cloud DVR. It argued that the broadcasters were trying to deny consumers the ability to use a more modern antenna and DVR by trying to prevent a consumer’s access to these technologies via the cloud.
The decision by the Supreme Court comes only days after Aereo closed a $34 million Series C round of financing which will be used to support further expansion in the US and increased investments in hiring and technology.
Commenting on the decision to begin what will likely be a lengthy action, Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia said: “We said from the beginning that it was our hope that this case would be decided on the merits and not through a wasteful war of attrition. We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court and we have every confidence that the Court will validate and preserve a consumer's right to access local over-the-air television with an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice.
“This case is critically important not only to Aereo, but to the entire cloud computing and cloud storage industry... We believe that consumers have a right to use an antenna to access over-the-air television and to make personal recordings of those broadcasts. The broadcasters are asking the Court to deny consumers the ability to use the cloud to access a more modern-day television antenna and DVR. If the broadcasters succeed, the consequences to consumers and the cloud industry are chilling.
“We remain unwavering in our confidence that Aereo’s technology falls squarely within the law and our team will continue to work hard to provide our consumers with best-in-class technology that delights and adds meaningful value to their lives.”