Aereo, the cloud-based antenna and DVR technology currently in a death struggle with broadcasters and the U.S. Justice Department over the right to exist, is moving ahead with plans to become an app in the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play store.
If all goes according to plan, starting May 29, current Aereo subscribers and others living in Aereo markets will be able to download the app for Android, including support for Chromecast, the company said in a press release. The Google application adds to existing apps for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch as well as Chrome for Mac, Chrome for Windows, Safari, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Opera Software, AppleTV and ROKU.
"The way people watch and experience television is changing and Google is a pioneer in providing consumers with more choice and flexibility in how they access and experience the media," Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said in the press release. "Consumers deserve more options and alternatives in how they watch television and our team is committed to providing consumers with the best experience possible using Aereo's innovative cloud technology."
If that cloud technology continues to be available. Broadcasters, who claim Aereo violates their copyrights and their ability to sell the rights to their content via retransmission agreements, disagree and have taken the matter to the courts.
Kanojia himself admitted that the company could cease to exist if it loses a battle that is now going before the U.S. Supreme Court. Broadcasters have the support of the Justice Department in claiming that Aereo gives consumers access to copyrighted content and doesn't pay licensing fees for that content. Aereo, meanwhile, recently picked up an endorsement from the American Cable Association (ACA) representing smaller cable operators, although major operators have remained silent on the battle.
Last month Kanojia was candid when asked about his company's future during a Bloomberg Webcast, saying, "If we don't succeed, despite our best efforts and the good law being on our side, it would be a tragedy. But it is what it is."
For an $8 monthly fee Aereo subscribers in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Antonio and Austin get access to local broadcast programs received via an over-the-air antenna and streamed to their device. They can also record and play back programming via a cloud-based DVR, and can increase the amount of recording time (and add a second tuner) for $12 monthly.
- see this press release
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