Even as Aereo fights for its life before the U.S. Supreme Court, another TV interloper has appeared on the scene. FreeCast's Rabbit TV has added a streaming device to its eMedia guide so its 3 million users can access U.S. TV stations over the Web.
According to a story in Advanced Television, Rabbit TV maintains that the TV channels are already accessible via the Web and it is just aggregating them into a package for its subscribers.
Rabbit TV's home page claims that subscribers can watch major broadcast networks as well as several cable channels including A&E, Discovery, Spike TV. (Screenshot: rabbittv.com)
"When people talk about live TV, aside from sporting events and award shows, what they're really talking about is scheduled programming--much like a playlist on the Web," FreeCast CEO William Mobley said in the story. "Now we're looking at scheduled programming as boundless and limitless because it can be watched via the Web all over the world."
Mobley's contention is that Aereo is actually forcing networks to take their fare online "which will in turn drive cable companies to become primarily bandwidth providers and the economics will shift in that direction."
In the meantime, as that shift is happening, Rabbit TV expects live TV stations to work "hand-in-hand" with its newly launched original content network to create hundreds of scheduled programming channels available through Rabbit TV's Web-based guide.
On the Aereo front, IAC Chairman Barry Diller, a major investor in the company, told CNN's "Reliable Sources" that he left the Supreme Court hearing feeling good about Aereo's chances to beat back broadcasters and stay alive.
He did add, however, that this confidence "means nothing" in the overall scheme of things.
"Aereo is, essentially, simply an antenna device that replaces technologically what you used to have to do--go up to your rooftop and erect and antenna," Diller said on the program.
Aereo Founder-CEO Chet Kanojia, meanwhile, took his position to the Associated Press where he suggested that Aereo is nothing more than the next transition being brought by the growth of the internet.
"It happened to books, news people, it happened to music people, it happened to Blockbuster," he said of the Internet's disruptive impact on old media. "There is nothing in our Constitution that says there is a sacred set of companies that will never be affected by new technology."
That, however, is up to the Supreme Court to decide, and if it decides in favor of Aereo nothing will happen overnight, he added.
"Change is a long process. Aereo is simply providing a piece of the puzzle. After we win, it's not that a sea change is going to happen overnight. It is just going to be that we will be allowed to continue to fit that missing piece in a consumer's life as they're evolving," he said.
Kanojia: Aereo lets consumers 'think outside the cable bundle'
Aereo will have tough time proving its case, legal experts say
Aereo CEO wants to sell cable operators a cloud-based DVR for $10 per sub