Aereo Offers Free Trials While Battle With Broadcasters Continues

The broadcasters who provide free TV won’t like this new twist on that concept. Aereo says that it will offer consumers its controversial streams of local TV stations’ programming without charge for an hour a day in its first market, New York City. The change is part of an overhaul of its pricing that’s designed to entice additional people to try the service. But it’s sure to infuriate broadcasters who say Aereo infringes on their copyrights. The Barry Diller-backed service uses tiny antennas to capture TV station signals which it transmits online to subscribers’ computers and mobile devices, adding DVR-like recording and playback capabilities. The hitch is that Aereo doesn’t pay broadcasters. The company says in its release today that “consumers have a fundamental right to access over the air television that broadcasts on the public airwaves, and that enhancing and supporting public access to that local broadcast signal is important.” Two weeks ago the major broadcast networks leading the fight against Aereo lost their effort to shut it down pending a trial on whether the service is legal. Although it has just launched in NYC, Diller recently said that Aereo will be in “every major American city” by the end of 2013. (more…)

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