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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 23, 2013

Aereo Brings Android into the Device Fold

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Barry Diller-backed, over-the-top video service, Aereo, has released its first Android (News - Alert) app, available for download in the Google Play store. The move significantly widens the company’s addressable market for mobile streaming, given that Android devices continue to gain market share vis-a-vis Apple (News - Alert) iOS.

Aereo members will also now be able to connect a Roku box to their Aereo account using their Android device.

"We know consumers have been waiting a long time for an Aereo Android app and today, we're happy to announce its release later this month," said Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia. "At Aereo, we believe consumers should have more choice and control over how they watch television and a big part of that is expanding the universe of devices that they can use to access Aereo's technology.”

The app, which has been launched in a public beta, will be compatible with phones and tablets running Android operating system 4.2 or higher.

Device support is widely considered a linchpin to making an OTT play successful, as demonstrated by Netflix’s strategy of planned ubiquity when it comes to app availability. The company topped 40 million subscribers in the third quarter, in part because of its wide availability across screens.

IHS (News - Alert) research estimates that more than 8 billion Internet-connected video devices will be installed worldwide in 2017, exceeding the population of the planet (7.4 billion projected). This will represent a nearly 90 percent increase from 4.3 billion in 2013.

“On average every human being in the world will possess more than one Internet-connected video device by the year 2017—a major milestone for the electronics market,” said Merrick Kingston, senior analyst, Broadband Technology, at IHS. “We’re quickly approaching a world where the average broadband household contains 10 connected, video-enabled devices. This means that each TV set installed in a broadband-equipped home will be surrounded by three Internet-connected devices.”

In order to cash in on this massive growth in Internet-connected devices, media companies across the operator, broadcast, consumer electronics manufacturing and over-the-top (OTT) businesses have embraced multiscreen distribution, Kingston noted.

“However, these companies face a major challenge: how to wrap consumers into their ecosystems, given the proliferation of platforms, high switching costs and strong incentives for consumers to stay with their existing services,” he said. “Addressing the full breadth of the device landscape, and recuperating the development cost of doing so, will pose a major challenge for a number of media firms.”

Aereo, which offers access of local broadcast feeds via the Internet to consumers in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston and Dallas for $8 per month, is soldiering on as devices proliferate. It faces a range of copyright infringement suits from content owners over not paying retransmission fees, but has been winning legal victories and plans to launch additional cities throughout the remainder of 2013 and into 2014, it said.

“This year, our focus has been on growing our footprint across the country. It's been an exciting year for the Aereo team as we've expanded beyond the East Coast and into the south and west. Our future is bright and we remain as committed and passionate as ever to creating innovative and simple to use technology for our consumers to access live TV online,” Kanojia said.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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