Aereo will soon be available in its second market: the greater Boston area. It’s a service that lets you stream over-the-air television to your computer, iPad, iPhone or Roku. You can either watch live TV or record shows with Aereo’s cloud based DVR. Folks who have preregistered, including myself, will start to receive invitations on May 15th with general availability on May 30th. Judging by the map on Aereo’s website, it looks like service will be provided to eastern Massachusetts, Worcester, the Cape, the Islands as well as southern New Hampshire. I’m assuming Bristol county was not included since its part of the Providence media market.
Aereo’s secret sauce is that each customer has access to their own miniature antenna. The antennas are about an inch in size but Aereo houses thousands of them in one giant array of antennas. Essentially, your renting an antenna from Aereo. Despite the dedicated antennas, Aereo has been the target of several lawsuits from broadcasters to shutdown the service. So far, attempts to shutdown the service have failed.
What I’m looking for Aereo? First, the channel line-up. Will we see all of the over-the-air Boston stations? Will New Hampshire locals also be included given the coverage area? I’m also interested in seeing the picture quality Aereo provides and if there’s Dolby surround sound or not.
Aereo has a variety of monthly pricing plans. The entry level plan for $8 includes 20 hours of DVR storage. For an extra $4 a month, you get an additional 20 hours of recording time. There’s also a daily rate as well as a discounted yearly option. I can see how Aereo would be a valuable service for folks who don’t have an easy option to put up an antenna. While it offers fewer channels than cable, it does include DVR for only $8. Will that be compelling enough for the market? Only time and lawsuits will tell.