Aereo, the Internet service that essentially brings real-time TV to your phone, computer and other devices, is launching in Miami on Monday.
Using Aereo’s technology, consumers can record and watch live, local broadcast television online through the basic $8-a-month streaming service. It’s geared to consumers who want anytime, anywhere access and a low-cost alternative to cable or satellite, but are only interested in eight or nine local channels. “Think of it as an update on the old rabbit ears,” Virginia Lam Abrams, Aereo’s vice president of communications and government relations, said on Friday.
The $8 service includes 20 hours of DVR storage a month in the territory – Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe — and 60 hours is available for $12. Aereo is offering free 30-day trials, and consumers can sign up beginning Monday on aereo.com. Consumers can authorize up to five devices per account, and Aereo is currently supported on iPad, iPhone, Chrome, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Safari, Opera, AppleTV and Roku, the company said. Coming later this month will be an Android app, allowing use on Kindles, the Samsung Galaxy tablet and other devices, Lam Abrams said. About 32 channels are able to be viewed in the Miami service area.
Technology reviewers in other markets for the most part have praised the Aereo service, although they noted reception can sometimes be uneven and they wished the service was available more widely.
Miami is part of Aereo’s first wave on national expansion that is expected to include 22 cities this year. The service, which started first in New York City in 2012, is available in Boston, Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and launches for Chicago, Houston and Dallas are set for mid-September. Aereo expects to announce early next year a second wave of expansion, with 10 to 12 additional cities, Lam Abrams said. Aereo would not release membership numbers or financials, citing its ongoing litigation.
Broadcasters have sued Aereo, saying it copies and retransmits their programs without permission. Aereo won a significant court victory in April, when a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the service didn’t violate U.S. copyright law, clearing its way for expansion, but Aereo faces other legal challenges.