One unfavorable Supreme Court decision and it could all be moot, but just the same, uber-disruptive over-the-top programming service Aereo finally made its debut on Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chromecast Thursday.
The launch on the $35 player dongle--delayed from May 29 because of technical issues--is a nice incremental step-up in market infiltration for the subscription video-on-demand service, which already has apps spanning the iOS and Android mobile-device market, as well as OTT boxes such as Apple TV (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Roku.
The much larger issue, of course, is a pending United States Supreme Court decision that will validate—or invalidate—Aereo's business model, which is essentially taking local broadcast TV feeds and turning them into SVOD streams.
Legitimately fearing for the pay TV retransmission fees that have become their life's blood in an era of maturing ad markets and spiraling programming production costs, the major broadcast TV networks have challenged Aereo in court, culminating in SCOTUS oral arguments on April 22.
Media mogul Barry Diller, who serves as Aereo's primary benefactor, has said the service is likely finished should an unfavorable ruling come down.
Enjoined in Denver and Salt Lake City, Aereo is currently operating in New York City, Detroit, Baltimore and across metropolitan Texas. Its national rollout would probably unfurl quickly, should the Supreme Court tell it what it wants to hear.
As for Chromecast, it has also recently added WatchESPN, Google Play Music, MLS Matchday and Simple.tv to its stable of apps.
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