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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 06, 2014

Aereo Goes Live on Google Chromecast

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

As it waits for the Supreme Court to rule on its fate—likely this month—Barry Diller-backed video start-up Aereo is now live on the Google Chromecast platform.

Users can download the Aereo app for Android (News - Alert) from the Google Play store, and then can access Aereo’s antenna and DVR technology to record and watch live broadcast television using Google’s dongle. Aereo offers local affiliate feeds and a handful of other channels via online streaming, for $8 per month.

The Chromecast dongle joins Apple (News - Alert) TV and Roku as TV-connected options for Aereo customers. It’s an important expansion of device availability for the company, as online video consumption trends move from the PC back to the television:  TVs are actually starting to outpace computers as the key platform for streaming.

Parks Associates (News - Alert), in its “360 View: Entertainment Services in US Broadband Households” report, found that a full 81percent of U.S. broadband households still choose the TV set for the majority of their video consumption, while 60 percent watch content on a computer. Thirty-one percent said they watch video on a smartphone, and 28 percent watch on a tablet. The PC was the only platform to show any significant decline in video viewing in the past year.

The firm found that in the first quarter of 2014, U.S. broadband households watched roughly three hours of online video per week on each platform — however, the amount of online video consumed on a TV is increasing, up from 2.3 hours per week in the first quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, online video viewing on a PC is on a steady decline.

"The amount of all video consumed on PCs has declined, dropping from over eight hours per week in 2013 to 6.2 hours per week now," said Brett Sappington, director of research for Parks Associates. "Ultimately, consumers can more easily access online video options on a television than ever before."

Meanwhile, Aereo is awaiting a ruling from the high court in a critical copyright infringement case brought by major broadcasters. Because the company broadcasts local feeds via the Internet without paying retransmission fees, the media companies are claiming piracy and infringement. Aereo has counter-argued that because it provides dime-sized antennae to its subscribers — who pay $8 per month for access to a couple dozen channels — it constitutes an over-the-air service, which is exempt from retrans fees.

So far, it has succeeded in arguing its way to victory in Boston and New York, but it is for now prevented from operating in the west, including Denver and Salt Lake City. The high court’s decision will decide its fate nationwide.

Aereo is available to consumers in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Miami, New York, and Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Aereo plans to launch in additional cities throughout 2014 unless the Supreme Court case goes against its interests.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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