After free over-the-air broadcast television stations changed to digital several years ago you could buy an inexpensive converter for your old TV or just get a newer set with it built in. If your viewing location has decent reception your results are much better than old analog broadcasts – but if you are in a zone with mediocre reception (as is our house, since we are on the wrong side of a hill from the broadcast towers) it’s much worse. So you must go with some paid cable or satellite service to see stations that would otherwise be free.
Aereo wants to be your personal TV antenna with great reception.
First set up in NYC, they have developed an extremely small (like the size of a dime) digital antenna. Aereo puts thousands of these antennas in a data center with tons of storage and high speed internet connections. For a low monthly fee (currently $8 a month, or $80 a year) you are basically renting the use of an antenna and storage:
– You connect to your antenna via the internet from your computer, smartphone, tablet, AppleTV, etc. (up to 5 devices per subscription)
– You tell your antenna what broadcast station you want to watch now, or
– You tell it to record a show to watch later, or
– both – you can watch one station and record another station
The broadcast stations are not happy about this, since unlike cable stations Aereo is not paying them to re-transmit their broadcasts. However, several court decisions have upheld Aereo‘s right to put up antennas and receive broadcasts as freely as you could.
Aereo has announced it is expanding its service to an additional 22 US cities this year, and Boston is first on the list – actually almost all of eastern MA, as well as southern NH and one VT county (click image to enlarge):
You can pre-register now to be among the first to get a sign-up invitation on May 15th – otherwise sign-ups will be fully public on May 30th (you also get one month free as an early adopter). If you are in other parts of the US click here to see the other 21 metropolitan areas coming soon and sign up for notification or request your area if it is not listed.
-You must provide proof of residency in an eligible county to join.
– To use you must be physically in their geographic service area. They check the IP address on your device’s network to verify your location, or the GPS on your mobile device.
– You must have access to a broadband internet connection (if you are already streaming NetFlix or Hulu you are good to go)
– Currently supported devices:
Desktop Browsers (Mac and PC)