After my wife and I moved out to Brooklyn we “cut the cord”, deciding not to sign for a cable TV service. Although we have an upgraded internet connection through Time Warner that streams Netflix well, we do not have any reliable way to watch live TV. We tried a HD antenna and that worked about as well as you’d expect a $5 product to work. My friend Matt showed me this video which I plan to build one summer weekend.
In the meantime, we got access to Aereo, which is still in private beta. Aereo has a warehouse in Brooklyn that houses thousands of TV antennas. If you verify that you live in Brooklyn (I think IP addressing? I don’t remember) for $15 a month you “rent out” an antennae and their service streams any content that the antennae picks up including network stations like Fox, NBC, ABC, as well as local and community stations like PBS.
Over a 3G connection it was watchable, barely, but over WiFi it looked great. The beauty of their service is if you have an Apple TV, your phone just became a TV antenna. How cool is that? Of course the networks are going to sue Aereo for the next several years, as with anything disruptive, wanting customers to pay for the more expensive packages but it’s a great service that works really well.
Unfortunately it’s only a web app (not a native iOS app), probably because Apple would reject them, and only for iOS devices. I have no idea why they don’t allow computers, and even their own site shows a couple using a laptop. False advertising? Legacy from their initial plan and then had to do only mobile for some reason? I don’t know, but it’s strange.
I enjoyed my free trial and love any new technology that allows me to use my iPhone/AppleTV but $12 a month is too high for me to get content that I can get for free. I think it’s a great idea and it’s going to do very well for the growing set of mobile youth out there who don’t have a TV. For them to watch live TV on their iPhone, iPad and iMac is huge. I have a nice plasma TV, so I just need to get around to building that antennae now…