Supreme court to decide if company can stream OTA tv over the internet

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So this is what I don't get.
The company (Aereo - aereo.com) dedicates a small antenna (and, I guess, tuner) to you that you can access over the internet for a small monthly charge. This lets you watch what-ever TV channel the antenna can pick up.
Now what I don't know is:
- is there really a market for watching TV on a cell phone or tablet?
- are you matched (geographically) to an antenna in your locale, so that you are only allowed to stream a TV transmission that would be equivalent to what you could receive OTA where you physically are at that moment?
But my biggest question is:
If people really do want to watch TV on their mobile devices, then why on earth hasn't the makers of these devices (phones, tablets) responded years ago by putting ATSC tuners in them SO YOU CAN WATCH LOCAL TV DIRECTLY OTA WITHOUT USING ANY INTERNET / DATA BANDWITDH ?
Does anyone have an explanation as to why the cell phone and tablet market isin't sufficiently competitive such that some maker would have raised the bar by including an ATSC tuner in at least some versions of their products?
How on earth can it make sense to stream live OTA tv to a portable device when the device could have it's own friggen TV tuner built in?
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So this is what I don't get.
The company (Aereo - aereo.com) dedicates a small antenna (and, I guess, tuner) to you that you can access over the internet for a small monthly charge. This lets you watch what-ever TV channel the antenna can pick up.
Now what I don't know is:
- is there really a market for watching TV on a cell phone or tablet?
- are you matched (geographically) to an antenna in your locale, so that you are only allowed to stream a TV transmission that would be equivalent to what you could receive OTA where you physically are at that moment?
But my biggest question is:
If people really do want to watch TV on their mobile devices, then why on earth hasn't the makers of these devices (phones, tablets) responded years ago by putting ATSC tuners in them SO YOU CAN WATCH LOCAL TV DIRECTLY OTA WITHOUT USING ANY INTERNET / DATA BANDWITDH ?
Does anyone have an explanation as to why the cell phone and tablet market isin't sufficiently competitive such that some maker would have raised the bar by including an ATSC tuner in at least some versions of their products?
How on earth can it make sense to stream live OTA tv to a portable device when the device could have it's own friggen TV tuner built in?
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Dean, Hoffman, > wrote:

The networks put a lot of effort to keep the OTA stuff viewable only on TV's, and the stuff that they stream on the internet (either directly or via Hulu) to be visible on everything else (computers, tablets, phones, etc).
If you look at set-top boxes like Google's "Google TV" - it first came out in 2010 and was largely a market failure.
It failed because of one simple thing: The "User-Agent" string that it used when it made contact with web sites made it identifiable to those servers - and they refused to send it content.
In other words, when you use a traditional computer browser to go to a site like cbs.com, the cbs server knows what computer you have, and what browser you have (at the very least). So it sees that you're using a regular computer and is happy to serve content to you.
But Google's TV box used a "User-Agent" string that, rightly or wrongly allows the cbs (or any server) to know that you're using a specific set-top box, and they don't want you watching their internet feed on your TV through the box, so they simply don't serve you the content.
Now why google didn't just fake the user-agent string to make it appear as, say, an android tablet, or even more tricky, a windows PC running some mozilla browser - I don't know. Or why google worked so hard to make it hard for users to hack the user-agent string on that box, I don't know.
But bottom line is that the networks really really don't want you watching OTA tv channels on portable devices, phones or computers (laptop, desktop, etc) and they really really don't want you to be able to watch their streaming web-content on a regular TV (through a set-top box, "smart tv", or when connected to a media PC).
It probably would throw their survey ratings into question, throw a wrench into their advertising rates for OTA and web, and maybe cause headaches in terms of distribution rights.
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With the way the corporation-funded Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United, I'm pretty sure they'll rule in favor of Areo.
And if that leads to OTA/antenna broadcasts being yanked, there just won't be anymore TV in this household.
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On Sunday, April 27, 2014 8:52:56 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Idiot. If you're going to play the alleged corporate power over the SC card, at least try to do it right. Who is more powerful? Little piss-ant Aero or the major broadcasters and networks?

You're obviously just watching cartoons anyway.
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trader_4 wrote:

Isin't it true (or maybe it was in the past?) that cable-co's could take any signal off the air and rebroadcast them across the local cable plant without having to pay the networks or the station broadcasting the signal - as long as they carried it exactly as it was broadcast - no substitution of commercials?
It would have to be a signal that the cable-co would have to receive with their own antenna and gear - no link or legwork done by the transmitting station?
Wasn't the same done by satellite tv providers - in fact they were mandated by law to broadcast local TV channels (not sure how that's done when a satellite signal can be received by half the continent).
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On Thursday, April 24, 2014 9:11:29 AM UTC-4, Home Guy wrote:

Apparently it was free in the past, but isn't free today:
"What is that Broadcast TV Surcharge on my statement? The Broadcast TV Surcharge is a pass through reflecting charges assessed to Charter by the owners of local broadcast, or local "network-affiliated," T V stations. While broadcast stations distribute their signals over the air using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government, they charge Charter significant amounts to carry their TV signals. These signals were h istorically made available to Charter at no cost, or low cost. However, the prices now demanded by broadcast stations have necessitated that we pass t hese costs on to customers. "
The above is what the broadcasters in the suit before the SC are trying to protect. But, how big of a deal it is, I'm not convinced. For example, even if it's available to me, I'm not going to use it and give up cable. There is a lot on cable I watch, the broadcast stuff is maybe 5% of it. And if they looked at the positive side, ie that now people could be watching their station *with the commercials* on a tablet, smartphone, etc, it sure seems to me it's like getting more people to tune to their already free OTA broadcasts. Isn't that what they want? More viewers so they can charge higher advertising rates? It seems to me they want to try to hijack and make anything on the internet pay, versus viewing it as an extension of their already free service.

That's how they apparently receive it here. Cablevision has a huge tower at their site, with a bunch of what look like regular TV antennas, aimed at NYC.

IDK what they were mandated to do, what was free, etc. But they only allow you access to the locals in your own area, AFAIK.
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trader_4 wrote:

Not just Nokia or Samsung.
Apple doesn't do it either in their iPhone.
And even Blackberry, on the brink of going out of business as a cell phone maker, didn't reach for what could have been a huge gimick to raise their sales by giving their phones the ability to receive TV signals.
I heard recently that a software upgrade could give some new and older Blackberry phones the ability to turn on an FM radio receiver that the phones apparently already have - but nobody knew?
There is something wierd going on in the portable device market space, especially cell phones, where the makers of these devices consistently fail to give these devices the capability to experience and take advantage of existing free radio signals and broadcasts of various sorts.
Yes, cell phones can receive and make use of wifi, but I get the impression that even that was grudgingly given.
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On Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:16:06 AM UTC-4, Home Guy wrote:

I previously stated what that reason very likely would be. The cell phone manufacturer's customers are the cell phone carriers. If you can watch TV on the cell phone directly instead of watching it or even something else on their data network, you don't use airtime minutes. Airtime minutes is what keeps them in business.

Not really. AFAIK, the carriers didn't get knots in their shorts over it. But they still won't let you use wifi on a phone on their network, unless you have a data plan. But, you raise a good point. If they are so fearful of watching TV directly and that is why the phone manufacturers aren't putting it in, why did they allow wifi to go in?
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trader_4 wrote:

Plenty of phones are bought directly by end-users.
And since when do the carriers dictate to the phone makers what features they can build into a phone?
The major phone makers are big enough to not have to take that sort of shit from the carriers.
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On Thursday, April 24, 2014 8:03:56 PM UTC-4, Home Guy wrote:

Define plenty. By far the largest customers of the cell phone manufacturers are the carriers. Most consumers get their phones from a carrier or a channel that sells a particular carrier's cell phones.

Good grief. Since the beginning of time sellers have listened to what their major customers want or don't want in products.

Take what S***? The only one clammering for a TV in their phone is apparently you. Before introducing new products, manufacturer's routinely give major customers previews of what they are thinking of in terms of features for new products, to solicite feedback. Say LG told their top 10 customers that they were thinking of putting a TV into the phone and most of them had strong objections, why in the world would LG then do it? And the relationship between carriers and cell phone companies is probably one of the strongest out there. They have to be in sync with new technology rollouts. It wouldn't work very well if the cell phone companies just made up a phone for next year with 7R technology and found out that the carriers couldn't and wouldn't support it. So of course they are heavily dependent on each other.
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trader_4 wrote:

----------- Apple Wants to Sell More iPhones Through Its Own Stores — But Can It? July 17, 2013
Apple sells a lot of iPhones through its retail stores — but not nearly as many as it would like. Indeed, at a recent gathering of Apple Store leaders, sources said CEO Tim Cook was dismayed that only 20 percent of all iPhones are sold through Apple Stores, and that he’d like to see that number rise in the months ahead.
The biggest and most obvious constraint on such an effort is the size of Apple’s retail operations. In the U.S., for example, Apple has about 250 retail locations — most, if not all, very well-trafficked. But its carrier partners together have about 9,000, according to CIRP. Add to that 1,000 or so Best Buy stores, and a bunch of other retail outlets like RadioShack, and Apple’s plan to claim iPhone sa
http://allthingsd.com/20130717/apple-wants-to-sell-more-iphones-through-its-own-stores-but-can-it/ ------------
I'm assuing that when you buy a phone at an istore, you are 100% buying the phone in a single transaction, vs when you "obtain" a phone through a cellular provider you are paying for it $20 a month for 2 years as part of your cellular service.
I know that one factor is cost - and many people simply can't afford to pay $500 in one shot up front for a phone. Strange that the article doesn't mention that.

I'm not expecting that a tv tuner would go into ALL phones made by any given manufacturer.
I'm wondering why a few models or even just one model wouldn't have a built-in tuner as an advanced feature, meant to give a marketing advantage for those people that do purchase their phones outright before signing up for a plan.
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On Friday, April 25, 2014 10:13:03 AM UTC-4, Home Guy wrote:

It?

nearly

see

out 250

s

ts-own-stores-but-can-it/

And I gave you one possible reason, but you ignore it. That is that the vast majority of cell phones are sold through the cell phone carriers. Even your own Apple data confirms that. Just 20% of their phones are sold via their own stores. I'd bet that the majority are sold through carriers. So, if you were Apple or LG and your 4 major customers that account for over half your sales were telling you they didn't want to see a TV in the phone because they prefer to see customers run up airtime data minutes, what would you do? Maybe that's the wrong question. What would a reasonable business person do? Note that I'm not saying that is what is going on, only that it's possibly one of the reasons.
Other factors could be the size of the smallest TV tuner is too large, the power required, interference from the cell phone transmitter that is an inch away. Someone else also pointed out the antenna size. In the city, folks have rabbit ears to get TV reception. Outside the city you typically have a Yaggi antenna. Where would you put those for a cellphone? You're going to look pretty crazy walking around with a yaggi on your head. And even if it could work with a tiny antenna inside the phone that would work in part of a city, maybe they figured out it's not robust enough, won't work well enough for enough people, in enough areas to make it a useful feature. Didn't we just have a thread about an allegedly "unusable" cell phone? Maybe the cell phone companies don't want a bunch of dissatisfied customers with something that they know would only work half-assed.
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

So why does Apple want to sell more phones in it's istore?
It's well known that the cellular phone companies are paying exactly the same price for an iphone that Apple charges retail customers, even though cell companies buy them in quantities of hundred thousand.
Why would it benefit Apple to try to get more of these "sales" (if they're not really sales) in their istore?
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On Friday, April 25, 2014 10:50:40 AM UTC-4, Home Guy wrote:

You have a cite for that? First time I've heard it and it seems very illogical. I smell BS.

Did you read your own source:
"Like the iPod before it, the iPhone is a gateway product that introduces n ew customers to the rest of the company's offerings. As Cook said last year at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, "What is clearly happening now is that the iPhone is creating a halo for the Macintosh. The iPhone has also created a halo for iPad."
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Robert Green wrote:

A year or so ago I bought a Netgear EVA9000 for $100. It has no tuner, and it doesn't record (although the chipset inside does have divx or h264 recording capability). It had no hard drive - I added a 1tb WD-Green drive for about $65. The box has a nice front-panel door and drawer for the hard drive - which slides out the front.
I have that box connected to my 36" Sony Wega (flatscreen tube tv, circa year 2000) and my Denon AVR 3300 receiver (via digital audio link).
What I would love is a box like the Netgear, with ATSC tuner and the ability to record OTA and anything I feed into the back of the box (NTSC composite video, for example).
A box without internal hard drive is crap. The EVA9000 has internal drive AND front and back USB ports. I can connect keyboard or mouse to this thing.
32 or 64 gb USB thumb drives are too small capacity for set-top tuner/PVR recording solution. I want a box that can store all my shit and record stuff too. The ability to stick in a thumb drive to put stuff on (the internal drive) or pull stuff off (the internal drive) is always there.
Some hi-res 1920 x 1080 video files require more bandwidth than a lot of USB thumbdrives are capable of. The USB interface itself of some of these STB's are pathetically slow.
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Dell used to make a box called the Zino with exactly these specs. Mines about 3 or 4 years old now and is just starting to act up on the HDMI interface to the TV. Has 1 TB harddrive which holds all the OTA stuff I care to record (mostly football and the Sunday political shows). Runs Windows 7, so no problem with VPNs or using a web browser to view other stuff. Has a Blueray drive for DVDs.
Looking for a replacement, but short of an Android SoC (yuk) or a fullsize desktop, it's difficult to find something.
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Robert Green wrote:

Does anyone happen to know just how much those fees are, on a per-customer basis?

I don't think it's possible to know what fraction of Aereo's customer live in OTA-challenged circumstances.
It would also involve speculating to what extent these customers watch Aereo on stationary TV's (which is a challenge in itself for the vast majority of people) vs on a tablet or phone somewhere else (commuting to work? In a park? At work? In a restaurant or bar?).
We would have to see a breakdown of the various use-cases for how and where these people are using aereo.

For the average person I would say yes. Many people either do not know or have long forgotten that terrestrial TV broadcasting was (and still us) commonplace and everpresent.

Ok, you're clearly operating under some old impressions here.
For one, multipath distortion did cause problems for "urban canyon" reception, particularly on VHF channels. But also remember that VHF and UHF frequencies penetrate much further into sold materials vs cell-phone frequencies. The 700 mhz spectrum (formerly used by UHF channels 53 through 69) which is now allocated to new cellular service promises a new era in trouble-free reception for portable devices.
Also note that many TV stations have abandoned VHF channels (particularly VHF-lo) and have gone to UHF.
The claim that a cell phone needs a telescoping whip antenna to receive OTA TV can be completely trashed if you simply don't even try tuning in the VHF spectrum at all, or simply optimize the internal antenna for UHF only and accept spotty VHF performance (which isin't really a hardship because as just mentioned the vast majority of TV is now using UHF channels).
Second, we're talking digital ATSC signals, for which you can receive a crystal-clear picture with surprisingly low signal levels and multipath distortion. So stop comparing the receive-ability of analog TV a decade ago in hi-rise urban appartment buildings with what is possible today's digital signal format.
The 800 lb gorilla in the room is still asking why even just a few models of cell phones made today (and available in north america) does not have the ability to receive these signals.
==============http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID 43
Sanyo Shows Off Cell Phone With Integrated Television Tuner Saturday, August 09, 2003
For the second time in almost as many weeks, a Japanese company has been showing off a handheld device with built-in television tuner. This one is a phone with TV, not a PDA like that last one, but it still looks very interesting and promises to open more doors like this for PDAs going forward.
The Sanyo Electric used 2.2 inch organic EL display, the portable telephone of terrestrial digital television broadcasting correspondence was made on an experimental basis. Besides the fact that you use the tip/chip of new development and can do television viewing of 90 parts, video recording of 30 parts is possible inside. The substance corresponds to CDMA2000 1x. =============== Yes, that was in 2003.
You want something more recent?
===============Samsung Galaxy S II TV is an Android smartphone with built-in television receiver
Posted: 15 Aug 2013,
Despite the name, the Samsung Galaxy S II TV has almost nothing to do with the company's former flagship device. It is a brand new Android smartphone that comes with a digital TV receiver and a built-in retractable antenna. With support for the ISDB-T broadcasting standard, the handset lets its user enjoy live television, displayed on the 4-inch, 800x480 pixel screen. Further specs include a 1GHz dual-core processor, main camera of 5 megapixels, 4GB of storage, microSD card slot, and a 1500mAh battery. Android 4.2.2 is included out of the box.
Clearly, the Samsung Galaxy S II TV is an interesting device despite its mid-range hardware specifications. Too bad that we might not lay our hands on it anytime soon as we're not expecting this device to be launched globally. Samsung is planning on marketing the Galaxy S II TV in Brazil where it will come in a dual-SIM flavor.
http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-S-II-TV-is-an-Android-smartphone-with-built-in-television-receiver_id46432 =============== From what I've read, they've been able to watch OTA TV on cell phones in Japan and South Korea since 2005 or 2006 and China (not sure starting when).
And you well know that many people in these asian countries live in hyper-canyonized cities.
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On Sunday, April 27, 2014 8:56:32 AM UTC-4, Home Guy wrote:

It's not that people have forgotten it. It's just that only a small percentage of the TV market is satisfied today with the OTA channels. The largest segment of the market wants more than that, ie the many cable/sat channels. And once you get cable/sat, you get the OTA channels as part of it.

Why would you think everyone in say the NYC area can easily pick up all the broadcast TV channels? Clearly there are some people who won't be able to because of issues like buildings blocking the signal, living in a geographic low spot, etc. And then there is a larger segment, where they could receive it, but putting up the necessary antenna is difficult, too costly, landlord won't allow it, etc. What percentage that is, IDK. I would agree that I'm not sure that's Aero's real target market, but for sure there are people in that situation.

I thought we were talking about today, not promises.

Doesn't matter, there are still going to be people who for one reason or another, can't recieve OTA via an antenna.

Can you show us a single hand-held mini TV that doesn't have a telescoping antenna?

I didn't think Robert was making that comparison. Sure, ATSC is better, but that doesn't mean it can penetrate through huge buildings and that everyone is guaranteed to be able to receive it.

I thought you said you solved that a few days ago.
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trader_4 wrote:

Show me a DVR sold by a big-box retailer that is a 100% digital equivalent to the old analog NTSC vcr.
By that, I mean it has:
- ATSC tuner, and possibly clear-QAM tuner - tuner input (F-connector) for CATV cable or antenna - component, svideo, rca (composite) video and hdmi output (so the box can function as a "digital convertor box") - can record to internal hard drive what you've tuned into, regardless if it's a 720 or 1080 video signal - can retreive any channel schedule information - programmable (scheduled) recording - auxilliary back-panel inputs for recording other signals fed into the box (RCA, S-Video, AND hdmi)
And what it should have (that wasn't around in the VCR days):
- RJ45 ethernet jack for connecting the device to your home LAN for network accessibility on other devices to stream recorded content from internal hard drive or outright copy files between devices, configure a recording schedule or look up a channel guide, watch live tv, etc.
- wifi radio to perform any of the above activities mentioned for hard-wired ethernet, to the extent that wifi is capable of.
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