You have to give Aereo a lot of credit: despite being sued pretty much constantly, the company has never given up its mission to give free television to anyone, whenever they want it. In fact, in the face of a huge amount of pushback and adversity, it continues to push ahead, always trying to stay one step ahead of those that want to shut it down.
Just this week, Aereo encountered yet another lawsuit, this time from broadcast affiliates in Utah, but that did not stop Aereo from announcing that it is going to be launching a new app for Android, which will be available on October 22nd.
Until now, the service was available on on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Chrome, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Safari, Opera, AppleTV (via airplay) and Roku devices.
The Aereo app, which will be released in public beta, will be compatible with devices that are running Android 4.2 or higher. Aereo members will also now be able to connect a Roku box to their Aereo account using their Android device.
New York City-based Aereo is a Web platform that allows users to watch live TV on their mobile devices or computers. It grabs over-the-air TV signals and routes them to users over the Internet, so that customers can watch broadcast TV whenever, and wherever, they want.
No cable subscription is required to use Aereo and membership plans begin at $8 a month for 20 hours of DVR storage, or users can pay $12 a month for 60 hours of storage.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the service has raised the ire of the broadcast channels, who rely on retransmission fees for revenue. These feee typically require cable operators, and other distributors, to obtain permission from broadcasters before carrying their programming.
These operators will often be asked to pay the broadcaster in order to get permission to carry the station, but Aereo retransmits the broadcast without permission, and without paying. The broadcasters have said that they cannot continue to operate without these fees.
Broadcasters hate the service so much, in fact, that some of them have actually threatened to become pay channels in order to to protect their revenue streams.
Aereo is currently available to customers in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston and Dallas. The company recently announced that it is going to be expanding to four new cities: Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and San Antonio.
Launching on Android is a genius move for the company.
While it is most likely a move to stay ahead of the broadcast affiliates that are so eager to shut them down, it will also give Aereo a huge number of new customers. And once a lot of people have access to it, Aereo has basically won.
Think of it it kind of like the government's plan with Obamacare: if you give it to enough people, and they like it, then try to take it away from them at your own risk!
(Image source: https://www.aereo.com)