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

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Robert Green wrote:

Show me something like that, but with an internal SATA hard drive (either built-in or optional).

The big draw is, I would think, people watching sports - any games that are still broadcast OTA these days.
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I've had a number of tunerless media recorders before this that are capable of supporting internal SATA/PATA drives as well as the USB externals and I can say unequivocally that external drive support is far more useful. You can easily detach the drive, back it up or as I do, distribute the recordings to the in-home media network. One drive for movies, another for episodic TV, etc.
External drive support is far more valuable, at least to me. Eliminating internal drive support makes the media box both smaller and *way* cheaper to produce as a result. Thirty six bucks for a device capable of recording HD TV from free OTA broadcasts is a bit of a miracle compared to the $100-$150 *tunerless* standard density boxes I've used before. Admittedly they had more features like an ethernet port and the ability to record a composite video signal, but that's nowhere near as useful as a built in ATSC tuner that has a program guide and HD quality recordings. The Mediasonic box even has composite, component and RF outputs making it compatible with my network of old SD TV's throughout the house that serve as a front door video intercom.
I can scan the electronic program guide, selecting what I want to record in the next few days with a couple of clicks. Removable media also means you don't have to do the TIVO shuffle when the disk is full and you either have to watch, erase or archive old recordings to make space. Now I just mount another $50 external USB disk and I am back to recording. The biggest downside is that now instead of getting 1 hour per gig at SD resolution it takes 5GB per HD hour. With 3 and 4 TB disks on the market, that's not really an issue since the USB port seems able to supply enough power to run even the USB bus-powered drives. I believe from what I've read it also can support multiple drives through a powered USB hub, but I have yet to test that.
While it's still a little bit buggy (latest firmware is V.14), the ability to record in HD for $36 bucks (and the cost of an external drive, which many of us have anyway) is really a quantum leap. I don't know why Panasonic, Polaroid and many others have left the DVR/PVR market, but I suspect the content providers have made it clear that they want to control any kind of recording by end-users.

That's a good point. For some Sportacus types even a 4" screen that allows them to watch a championship game would be a draw. But I suspect you're right that content providers want to control that signal as well, and OTA reception of such telecasts is not what their business models want to stress. Burning up data minutes seems to be what they would prefer to free OTA reception.
Each year Comcast takes away more and more channels that I like and replaces them with crap that's cheap for them to buy. When they dropped Turner Classic Movies that was the final straw. I decided then to "cut the cord" and go with OTA, Netflix and the free streaming that comes from Amazon Prime.
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wrote:

Nope. At least through Sprint it is pretty much the same as going through a Sprint store, except the wait times at Sprint stores are MUCH less.
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wrote:

There's always a tendency to characterize new technology in terms of existing stuff. It's a lot like CATV but then again, it's not. (-" That's one reason why courts have been ruling differently on the subject and why it's risen to a dispute in front of the Supremes. Will nine judges who basically live in a bubble and have "people" to do all of the mundane things like computer maintenance and technology management be able to make the right call here? I have my very serious doubts.

Of course this is where the "rub" comes in? Once it's put out on the public airwaves for free, does the OTA signal regain rights it didn't really have AS an OTA signal?

I'm not sure that view is consistent with the Court's view in the Cablevision case. Yes, OTA broadcasters have been getting retransmission fees, but that's been a voluntary arrangement and not necessarily one that controls in all cases. Aereo was careful to use separate "antennalets" for each customer in an attempt to maintain the concept that the end user is receiving an OTA broadcast through a signal antenna specific to that user. I think dissenter Denny Chin called it a fiction (or maybe it was an end run) but he basically agreed with your contention that it's exactly like CATV - except that system does not provide antennas on a one-to-one basis so it is, technically speaking, slightly different. Aereo and Barry Diller are betting/hoping the distinction is enough (and it has been in lower courts) to set it apart, legally speaking, from CATV.

Citation? My understanding was very strongly that this would ADD eyeballs, especially from the people who get lousy local reception of OTA signals. I think it's a much more important consideration in the age of DTV. With analog you could tolerate a snowy or ghosted image if you *really* wanted to watch something OTA with bad reception.
With DTV, bad reception usually means severe pixelation or complete dropouts for seconds at a time. That's unwatchable in my book, and those are the people that Aereo is bringing to the stations who are complaining vociferously about a loss that they really can't quantify. Yes, CATV companies pay for retransmission but I am not sure that means anyone that re-transmits an OTA signal *has* to pay as well. That may be the real fear here - that if Aereo breaks down that paradigm that the CATV operators will push to end retransmission fees and succeed.

I was generalizing to point out that parties often come to court predicting horrible and dire consequences if the court doesn't side with them. Just as often, it seems, those predictions are not only wrong, but totally wrong. The collapse of the broadcast TV industry posited by the plaintiffs in Aereo is a lot like what the plaintiffs in Betamax said - "this will be the end of us" but of course, it wasn't. It was the beginning of a huge new revenue source that dwarfed the money they were getting from ads. Yes, the concept of "aftermarket" doesn't directly apply in Aereo. However it's well-established that broadcasters put out an advertiser supported signal to be viewed by as many potential clients of those advertisers as possible. Except now they don't seem to really want as many viewers as possible, they want retransmission fees (which have caused some serious battles in recent years) for doing nothing. Wouldn't we all like to collect fat fees for doing nothing. That's the crux of this case.

I respectfully submit that the US Court of Appeals decided it wasn't. A bad analogy would be that the signal, once broadcast, is like putting your garbage at the curb and complaining that someone took it and sold it for scrap and they should give you a cut. Now I am not saying American Idol is garbage. Wait, maybe I am. (-:

Indubitably.
It's a little like saying we're going to kill the goose that lays golden eggs because the eggs aren't quite as big as they used to be. The horror.
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http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/04/but-what-about-the-cloud-the-aereo-argument-in-plain-english/
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wrote:

Most of the indepedent stores who resell get a cut, I would think that adds up to serious bucks with absolutely no outlay for Apple. It isn't like Mom&Pop cellular where they have to get a store, advertise, etc. Selling iPhones for the companies has to be pretty much all profit for Apple. If Radio Shack and Best Buy want Sprint, Verizon, etc., "stores" inside of their stores, Apple would have to be at least as profitable. My other guess is that they just like the control.

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Yabbut . . . The pundits were so sure that the ACA would be nixed by the court that news outlets actually announced that it was - and then had to issue retractions. Aereo's had some significant wins in the lower courts so I wouldn't write them off just yet.
It ain't over until it's over.
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On Friday, April 25, 2014 5:22:58 PM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:

I agree you can't predict what the court will do. Even regarding the ACA, it isn't over yet. It seems Roberts with his supposedly genius reinvention of the Obamacare penalty as a tax, may have been the one that ultimately screwed it. A case is now making it way through the courts challenging the ACA because it involved a tax and all revenue bills must originate in the House, which ACA did not. It's pretty clear that's blatantly unconstitutional. But then maybe this time Roberts can rule that the House isn't the House, but something else.
A lot depends on just finding the right angle, which some smart folks just did with affirmative action. This time, it's pretty much over. Opponents figured out that when the people pass a law outlawing discrimination and the Constitution clearly says you can't discriminate based on race, it's impossible to rule that is unconstitutional. At least it was obvious to everyone but the few that don't care what the Constitution says, eg Sotamayor. "Well affirmative action helped me, look where I am, so it's cool I'm all for it." Doesnt matter that she got special treatment by discriminating against some white or asian that had similar background, achievements and the same qualifications. Bye, bye affirmative action. If a law ending it passed by 58% in Michigan, similar laws can and will pass in most other states.
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There's a lot more to it than that. An important point to remember about the exorbitant retransmission fees that OTA broadcasters exact from the cable TV companies is that they do NOT go to the copyright holders, but to the TV stations. That really muddies the water of copyright infringement claims because the actual copyright holders are not really in the loop.
When Congress gave broadcasters the choice of compelling the local cable service to retransmit their signals at no cost, or compelling compensation in exchange for consent to retransmit, it was regulating commerce and communications, not copyrights.
There is no unfairness or free-riding here because the public has no obligation to pay for access to local broadcast signals. Members of the public are *entitled* to watch and hear any over-the-air broadcast programming that they are capable of receiving. It is that simple. The copyright owner has no right to control who may join the audience. This is a little like the Bundy case in that a smoke-screen's going up meant to cloud the underlying issue: Broadcasters want money from Aereo like they get from Comcast and others.
CATV companies *could* have retransmitted broadcast signals without paying for them, but the Congressional catch was that then they could not *charge* users for them either. The CATV companies realized it would mean more profit if they paid broadcasters and charged users for the content. And charge them they did!
This is part and parcel of broadcasters enjoying the right to use the *publicly owned* broadcast spectrum. In the Betamax decision, it was further decided that people had the right to record OTA broadcast for viewing at a later time. Aereo has compared the installation of a TV aerial on your roof (that might need a rotor to work well) and the ownership of a DVR to record from your antenna to leasing that equipment and maintenance thereof from them.
In the urban canyons where Aereo flourishes it's usually not even possible to mount an external antenna. If you're on the "shadow side" of a old building with plaster lathe construction, you don't even get a signal. I know Kurt takes exception to this concept, but stop and think about it. Would anyone pay for Aereo if they could get a good OTA signal *without* paying for it?
Why would Aereo even work as a business model if the people that purchased their service could just as easily use rabbit ears? Unfortunately it's been well-established in urban areas that not everyone who is legally entitled to OTA broadcasts can actually receive them.
http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/new-service-delivers-broadcast-tv-internet-138283
<<New York is also logical launch pad for the service, since it solves over-the-air reception problems inherent to New York's urban canyon environment.>> The question actually revolves around the definition of public and private performances.
If you buy a DVD of a movie, you have the right to watch it in your home; that is considered a private performance. You are not allowed to play that DVD in a theater and charge for tickets; that is considered a public performance and is a violation of the copyright. Since OTA (Over-the-air) TV broadcasts are free to air, it means you are entitled to watch it privately without charge. You are also allowed to record it, say to a VCR, and watch it later according to the Betamax decision of years ago.
Aereo's argument is that it does not transmit to many people at once. It transmits to you, individually, from your antenna, through your cloud service, into your computer for your viewing only. This, Aereo argues, constitutes a private performance.
You are controlling the content privately as you would from your roof antenna. Aereo merely leases an antenna and a DVR to you. It's then both an equipment leasing company and a cloud storage service. Neither of those things are illegal to operate. This is why cloud-centric companies have filed amicus briefs on behalf of Aereo. They could be profoundly affected by a negative SC decision.
Aereo argues there is no difference between its service and having your own antenna to watch free TV. On its side are previous court rulings between Cartoon Network and Cablevision. These cases established that playing individual recordings of television (via DVR or cloud storage) was a private, not a public, performance. This distinction is why the lower courts have affirmed Aereo's business model.
Of course, litigants in that case were paying a license fee to transmit content which Aereo does not pay. That's why OTA broadcasters are hopping mad. They want what cable companies pay them from Aereo. But again, there's a difference. Broadcasters can (and have) used some very bitter blackouts to force CATV companies to pay them.
That's not so easy to do with Aereo's one antenna per viewer without blocking out all the non-Aereo users as well. They have far less leverage to compel Aereo to pay the fees they charge CATV companies. That's because they can't blackout the last episode of "Breaking Bad" or a championship tournament (as they've done in the past) to extort larger fees.
On Aereo's side is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. That's the second-highest federal court in the country and it ruled 2-1 in favor of Aereo, deciding the company's offerings were essentially an off-site DVR and should not be considered public performance.
The dissenting judges in Utah and at the 2nd USCA2ndC believe, as you do, that Aereo is commercially retransmitting these performances on a wide scale. They believe whether Aereo uses one or thousands of antennas that Aereo is retransmitting copyrighted programs to the public.
While analysts are trying hard to predict an eventual unfavorable decision based on the hard questions the Supremes have been asking, that's risky. They've been very hard on the side that eventually prevails in any number of past cases, so it's just fortune telling to call the case this soon. Besides, at almost every step in Aereo's existence, the pundits were saying that they would never win any of the lower courts cases that they eventually did, one by one. I'd like to see them win just to see if ABC, etc. will really abandon OTA broadcasting as a result. Betcha they won't! (-: If I were them, I'd be very wary of tell the Supremes they would cut their noses off to spite their faces if they are rules against.
It's a fascinating case because it draws on so many precedents and quirks in Federal law. I think that in the end, the broadcasters will end up reaching more local viewers through Aereo than they could before. That means they'll be able to claim higher viewership and will be able to charge more for ads. Once they see those numbers on paper, they'll retract their horns and grudingly accept the higher ad rates. (-:
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On Sunday, April 27, 2014 7:51:35 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:

Because when someone is sitting in Starbucks, in a stadium, or at the office with their cell phone or tablet, they don't have a TV and antenna are some examples.

See above.
Unfortunately it's been

Whatever the issue ultimately revolves around, there are indeed legal issues that say you can't receive material OTA then put it on a cable and send it off to other folks. That was my point. The poster claimed one could do that.

Actually, I don't have a dog in this fight. My point was only that there is something stopping one from putting up an antenna, receiving broadcast TV and retransmitting it to other people's homes.

The same more viewers equals more ad revenue applies to OTA being retransmitted on cable. Yet the broadcasters managed to get them to pay......
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HBO discovered that more people were downloading "Game of Thrones" than there should be which they attributed to a great deal of "password sharing" among HBO subscribers and their friends.
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It really *isn't* serving as a cable system in some very important legal ways. For one, every user has his own antenna, his own DVR and his own copy of what was recorded. That differs substantially (legally speaking) from a CATV system (particularly their DVR components). The CATV systems take one copy of say "House of Cards" and stream in to 1,000's of people. Aereo makes a distinct and separate copy of anything that a user/viewer selects. If 100 Aereo users record "The Big Bang Theory" then there will be 100 distinct "private" copies of that show stored on Aereo's servers:
http://www.cnet.com/news/inside-the-tech-that-tossed-aereo-through-tvs-legal-hoops/
The above article has some fascinating photos of an Aereo "server farm" and tries to explain how various clauses of the laws concerning retransmission apply. They also reiterate what I've been saying all along:
<< In the transition to fully digital broadcast signals in 2009, the Federal Communications Commission drew up maps that indicated where, if consumers followed the necessary steps, a proper antenna above a dwelling should be able to pick up TV broadcasts. As Kanojia and Lipowski made their own map of New York's broadcast signals, they found big holes. - - - It's striking to me," Lipowski said, describing missing signals at many places around the city, no more than a few miles from the current broadcast center on the Empire State Building. "You would not get the channels that the FCC said you should be able to receive. ... It was just gone, you could no longer receive television signals, you had to do something different. That's not fair." - - - Lipowski and Kanojia found their signal sweet spot at the Brooklyn building, a location with direct line of sight with the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, which will become NYC's broadcasting tower next year.>>
So despite what some people are saying here, there are some serious "dead spots" in large cities that mean people entitled to receive OTA for free can't do so. Aereo remedies that situation. The lower courts and the Federal Court of Appeals have both agreed with that assessment.
The article below is one of the best of dozens I've read when it comes to explaining why Aereo has prevailed in most cases leading up to the current one before the Supremes:
http://www.cnet.com/news/why-the-aereo-supreme-court-case-over-tvs-future-is-too-tough-to-call/
<<Aereo's legal argument relies heavily on a case that cable provider Cablevision won over the media companies in 2008, allowing it to offer network DVR, the same cloud-based system that Aereo is using to record, store and deliver over-the-air broadcasts. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Cablevision case the following year, and these cloud-based services have been trucking along ever since.>>
The CNET article rightly points out that it's the consumer that's been paying the hefty fees that broadcasters have extracted from the CATV companies:
<<Aereo charges $8 a month for its cheapest package -- less than half the $20.55 average price for a basic pay-TV service package in 2012, and far below the $61.63 price for the package tier most people buy, according to the Federal Communications Commission. . . . At first glance, Aereo looks similar to a cable or satellite company. Yet Aereo doesn't pay, and lower courts have largely supported its argument that it shouldn't have to. The trick is this: Aereo specifically developed its technology to enable private performances, the kind that are free of copyright concerns. Every customer has an individual tiny antenna that he or she controls, and every antenna makes a dedicated recording of the programming. By that rationale, Aereo isn't infringing because these aren't public performances.>>

That's pretty funny considering how they've rolled over like an industry lapdog concerning net neutrality.

However, if the intention of Congress was that everyone should be able to receive free OTA, the physics of the matter are entirely different. I've read that Aereo does not stream content beyond the area normally reached by OTA's broadcast towers, nor do they permit users to stream the content they've recorded outside that area. They serve only the area that OTA is meant to serve but for technical reasons often can't.
Essentially, they are providing a conduit for the signal to people who can't receive it. They're not cutting out the advertising that supports the broadcast OTA model, either. That's why lower courts have said these are private performances that allow users to exercise their rights to receive free OTA broadcasts even though they might not be able to because their location precludes receiving the free signal. Aereo enables them to receive what Congress decided was their right to receive even though geographic circumstance did not allow it.

But that's the rub. You keep saying that they can "still get it for free" but that's simply not the case. If they live in a "shadow zone" they can't receive the OTA broadcasts that they are entitled to. Aereo uses technology to remedy that situation. Congress allowed broadcasters the right to demand fees because CATV is a one-to-many operation, and thus a public performance. They also wanted to insure the health of the OTA industry by encouraging CATV operators to retransmit local TV channels.
Aereo has been quite scrupulous in maintaining the private performance model, hence if 1,000 Aereo subscribers have recorded "American Idolator" <g> then Aereo creates 1,000 individual copies of that show whereas Comcast will retransmit from a single copy. That's an *extremely* important legal nuance as it pertains to existing communications law.
Remember, the copyright holder is out of this loop. They don't make an extra dime, even if Aereo is eventually compelled to pay retransmission fees. That's why this is a commerce and not a copyright case. The copyright holder is barely considered in all of this. Essentially broadcasters want ti have their cake and be able to eat it too. They want to use the public airwaves but still be able to charge fees even considering the enormous value of free RF spectrum. I say, too bad, so sad. I don't want to pay more fees. Go pound sand, ABC et. al. or bribe Congress once again to change the law in your favor. Good luck with that considering the current "do nothing" Congress.

I am equally sure you're wrong. I would invite you to prove your contention because it runs counter to the dozens of articles I've read concerning the matter. It's pretty well known to urban dwellers like me that big cities like New York have a very large number of "dead spots" where OTA broadcasts simply aren't accessible. A citation or two would be nice. (-:
In my location the DTV channel list on the north facing TV's (with "paddle" antennas that mount on windows) is substantially different than the channel lists on the south facing or west or east facing antennas.
Remind me again, what large city do you and HomeGuy live in that makes you so sure that everyone in those cities has perfect reception? (-: I've lived in NYC and Washington, DC and I can assure you, reception of even DTV signals is a hit or miss proposition depending on your location and the type of aerial you're able to use. It's the reason I still pay $16 a month to Comcast for basic cable. I just can't bring in the large number of local OTA channels that Congress says I should be able to using an aerial. Therefore I subscribe to basic cable but I'd much rather have Aereo and it's built it DVR for $8 a month. If the retransmission fees went to copyright holders, I might feel different but they don't.

Don't you agree the OTA model is funded by advertising? And that the more people that see a broadcast, the better for both the station and its advertiser? If Aereo brings in local viewers who would not be able to see the OTA signal, isn't that good for them? So why are they whining so much? It's simply because they'd like to get some of those hefty retransmission fees from Aereo, too. And then Aereo would have to raise their rates to customers to pay them. I don't want to pay anymore for cable. We're a laughing stock compared to the rest of the world in what we pay for CATV and internet access and I am tired of getting gouged by monopolistic CATV and ISP companies
http://oti.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_cost_of_connectivity_2013
The chart midway down the page shows how badly Americans are being screwed. For the similar services (the popular three service bundle) you'd pay
$14.52 in Seoul $29.96 in Zurich $33.52 in Berlin $34.87 in Paris and a whopping $112.50 in Washington, DC.
That's just outrageous. It's the power of monopoly/duoply in a country that's basically abandoned regulating monopolistic business enterprises. It's pretty damn obvious that Joe Consumer takes it in the shorts as a result.
This is from the amicus brief of Consumer's Union and CFA:
http://www.protectmyantenna.org/pdf/3_amicus_briefs/13-461bsac%20The%20Consumer%20Federation.pdf
<< Cable and satellite services assert that they offer consumers local broadcast programming at affordable rates, but these packages do not offer a single additional feature beyond the local programming itself. Consumers with these "basic service" packages pay low rates mandated by statute, but do not have the option to pay a reasonable additional charge to obtain only the time- and placeshifting technology that Aereo provides. Instead, consumers are forced into costly higher-tier "bundles" of programming and services in order to obtain subscription packages with the other major television providers that include some Aereo-like features cost between $45.99 and $85.89 per month.>>
(There's a reason Comcast is one of the most profitable but lowest customer rated businesses in America. They have a virtual monopoly in most of the areas they serve. Isn't it odd how in areas served by both FIOS and Comcast the bundles cost *exactly* the same?)
<<These prices stand in stark contrast to the $8 per month that Aereo charges for its choice enabling technology. Consumers should not be forced to pay inflated costs for channels they do not want in order to use innovative technologies. Nor are the potential benefits of Aereo's technology restricted to the individual consumers who choose to subscribe. The technology also has the potential to benefit broadcasters by making their programming more attractive by empowering consumers to manage it on their own terms. This change could dramatically increase the net viewership of OTA broadcasts. Broadcasters would be able to reach viewers they might not otherwise due to the Aereo technology's time-shifting capabilities.>>
Why would they want to actually provide a service when the law gives them a gravy train that's powered by higher costs to consumers? What a deal for the broadcasters! I'd like to get me some of that free money! Remember when CATV showed very few commercials? Now, not only do we get to pay higher and higher rates each year, we get less and less content and more and more advertising. That's just not fair but because CATV's are basically monopolies, there's little anyone can do about it.
<<The FCC has noted that horizontal competition within the television market is nearly nonexistent. See Annual Assessment of Competition, supra note 21, at 10512 ("As a general rule, the geographic footprint of a cable [provider] rarely overlaps the geographic footprint of another cable [provider]. As such, cable [providers] rarely compete with one another for the same video subscriber. The situation is similar for telephone [providers].").>>
I, for one, support Aereo because I am tired of getting reamed year after year by Comcast who ups the rate and decreases the number of *good* channels every year. What really pisses me off is that the DoJ seems to be seriously considering allowing Comcast and Time-Warner to merge. That's just what America needs, fewer competitive choices in an already uncompetitve market. NOT!!!

Well, you're entitled to your opinion even if it's wrong but it's important to note that a number of courts have disagreed with you. And I do, too. (-: Aereo is simply providing a way for people to see what they are legally entitled to receive (free OTA) but can't due to geographic constraints. It provides broadcasters with more viewers which in any other circumstances seems to be exactly what they want.
Broadcasters are just hopping mad that Aereo might have found a way out of the windfall "free money retransmission payments" that Congress allowed them to extract from CATV operators. They're even more afraid that just as Congress gave them a retransmission fees windfall, it could wave its money-grubbing little hands and take it away.
If there's any theft involved, it's the law that allowed for such payments in the first place. Another well-intentioned law passed by Congress that screwed the very people it alleged to protect, namely the citizen trying to exercise his right to watch free TV. Remember, OTA broadcasts use a very valuable public commodity, the radio spectrum.
Broadcasters, like Clive Bundy, seem to believe that the use of that public asset is their God given right and not a privilege that can be revoked if Congress so chooses. I'd just love to see them make good on their threat to stop broadcasting if they lose and give up the public spectrum they've been using to make boatloads of money. Yeah, that'll happen. When pigs fly.
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On Monday, April 28, 2014 10:47:01 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:

But how exactly does Aero control that? AFAIK, all they could do is go by zipcode, address, etc when you establish your account. But how do they know people aren't openly exchanging their account with friends anywhere who want to watch say NYC or LA stations?

That's *part* of it. You seem to be making the assumption that the usage model is just on a TV or PC within a fixed household location that can't receive TV with an antenna. But with Aero, you could watch it on your cell phone or tablet anywhere there is wifi or cell phone data access. And if it's just people who can't receive via a TV antenna, it's a very small market. People who don't have sat or cable are a small part of the TV market today to begin with.
They're not cutting out the advertising that supports the

And if turns out that Aero can do this, then the cable companies could do the same thing, thereby depriving the OTA broadcasters of their huge revenue streams. The cable company just needs to put up a similar farm of wee little antennas like Aero has.

But if Aero prevails, there is nothing stopping the cable companies from doing the same thing Aero does, the next day and stopping payment to the OTA broadcasters. More likely, they would use it as a real threat to drive down the payments they make to the broadcasters.

I'd be interested in seeing how the profits of the cable companies actually compare to other businesses. If the comparison with other countries is fair and square, then the cable companies should have outrageous profit margins. I bet they aren't far out of line with other businesses. And I'll bet that in those other countries with low monthly rates, it's partly because the govts there are subsidizing part of the infrastructure costs.
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They didn't say in the article I read but I assume it's easy enough to do. Besides, it's FREE OTA TV - why would someone want to steal it? It's not like we're talking about "Game of Thrones" or "Breaking Bad."

I'm going to bet they have some methodology and that the incidence of NYC people wanting to watch LA TV is pretty darn low. I'll bet data latency and the number of hops it takes to reach the user's device would give them some clues. But even if there's "exchanging" how exactly is an advertising-sponsored TV broadcast hurt by being exposed to more viewers and potential customers of the advertisers? In court, to recover damages, you have to show an injury. Where's the injury and to whom here?

Mostly I am refuting the contention that everyone in New York City, etc. can get perfect reception with rabbit ears. I'll readily agree there are many other different reasons to have an Aereo account. But there's nothing Aereo does that we couldn't do ourselves with a PVR and a PC on the net. Make what they did illegal and a lot of things that are perfectly legal for private viewers to do now will be in jeopardy - a sentiment expressed by Justice Breyer, IIRC.

The Betamax case long ago established that mechanisms like the VCR that hadn't been invented when the TV broadcast system was created were nonetheless legal to use. It's a transmission you're entitled to receive for free "placeshifted" to a different location and/or time. That seems to be legal, according to many experts in the field. It's important to remember that a lot of rules and regulations came with the award of free public RF spectrum to TV broadcasters - something they seem eager to forget. You can bet if they could figure a way to charge you for each person that views their transmission on your TV, they would. Fortunately Federal law precludes that with the private/public performance test.

Got any citations? I have no idea what part of the market they comprise but the problem of bad reception surfaces again and again in amicus briefs, news articles and Aereo's PR materials. I have to assume it's a legitimate problem but I couldn't say what percent of their customers chose it for that reason. It's not so unbelievable because *many* people subscribe to basic cable which is basically OTA channels retransmitted. I'm one of them.

That is something I know to be true, but what the CAT/SAT people fear is that Aereo is enough for some people to be willing to cut the cord on the other services. If I had it, I might ditch Comcast basic because Aereo provides mostly the same channels (I'd lose public access, WGN and C-Span) AND a DVR plus streaming for $8. If I am willing to wait, Netflix usually has anything else I want and for far less than it would cost via cable.
What interests me more is that in the markets where Aereo operates, cable rates have fallen dramatically. The effect of *true* competition. For that reason alone (although there are many others) I hope Aereo prevails. There are remarkably few viable alternative to CATV and internet in many markets except for one or two providers. Only big cities typically offer more than two or three. That's not enough competition to have a positive effect for consumers. They're stuck in a "take or leave it" mode.

That may, in the end, be exactly what happens should the court decide for Aereo. The laws concerning this are immensely complicated and as you said elsewhere, a valid loophole is often good enough to force the Supremes to rule in a way people didn't expect. The problem is that I believe the cable companies are defined specifically in the law and would have to pay anyway. I haven't (nor will I!) read the 500 page law that covers just one aspect of this case to find out.
I think it's very possible that the Supremes will have to let Aereo live not for themselves, but because a ruling against them could seriously upset many well-established cloud-based systems. They often do such things with an admonition to Congress to rewrite the laws in a more specific (and sometimes more constitutional) way. The decision's a long way off because it's such a complicated one and even the Clinton appointees on the bench, reputed to be the Court's IP and copyright specialists, don't see eye to eye. I think Congress erred with retransmission fees and those chickens are coming home to roost in the Aereo case.
--
Bobby G.



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On Monday, April 28, 2014 1:45:43 PM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:

What makes you think it's easy to control where one watches via the internet? They obviously can't stop you from giving access to your friends in LA, so they can watch NY, etc. In fact, one of the whole selling points of Aero was that you can watch what you'd normally watch with an antenna anywere you go, eg you can watch NYC while on vacation in Europe.

So they can watch the OTA locals from some other city where they don't live. How many people want to do that, IDK. But apparently it's a key thing that is illegal if you do it and the broadcasters have their shorts in a knot over it. Otherwise Aero would just allow anyone to sign up to watch NYC from anywhere. As I understand it and I think you agree, Aero won't let you do that. And I say there is no real way to control what one is apparently allowed to do versus what they can do. If you live in LA, you can't sign up to watch OTA NYC via Aero. But if I sign up in NYC, and my buddy signs up in LA, then we can share access and easily do what it's apparently illegal to do and there is now way Aero can stop it.

IDK which laws apply, what the penalties are. But obviously Aero is worried about it being a real problem, or they would let someone in LA or Europe sign-up to watch NYC.

I agree 100% with that.
I'll readily agree there are many

Maybe, but it depends on what specific points the ruling relies on.

I don't think it's that simple. You could view the OTA signal going into a cable system as just being placeshifted, but somehow the cable companies lost that one and are paying huge fees to the broadcasters to put on their cable what you can watch for free with an antenna.
It's important to

When the switch to ATSC was taking place, there was concern about how many people might not be able to receive it, so there was discussion about how many it might affect, etc. There was only about 15% of TV viewers who were receiving via antenna at that time. If that's the total, you'd have to believe that the number who would want to just receive that but can't with just an antenna is likely to be just a few perecent of the market. That could still be a business model for Aero, but it's not much of the total market. I haven't seen any breakdown on what percent of cable customers just get the minimal OTA type package.
Part of that is there are some people who could put up an antenna, but because of where they are located, it's not easy. Maybe it takes a roof antenna, and they are in a rental. Maybe they are in an apt and the apt only has cable, etc. But there are also roadblocks to Aero. If I sign up for Aero, I'm sure I can instantly watch it on my PC. But how do I get it to my 50" TV? I guess you can stream it via Roku or something, but it's another challenge to figure out for someone that has cable access that already works.

Interesting. I saw cable companies were on your list of folks before the SC, but which side are they on? I would have thought they might be on the side of Aero, hoping that the SC would nullify the ability of the broadcasters to charge them for sending the OTA stuff down the cable.
If I had it, I might ditch Comcast basic because Aereo

You have a cite that shows that and that Aero is the cause? IDK a single person who has Aero or even knows what it is. I'd be shocked that they could have had any real impact on the cable companies. I sure wouldn't be dropping rates on the huge segment of my business that most people want, to stop a tiny percent who only want OTA from going away.
For that

I'd agree that Aero winning would most likely be a good thing. I say most likely, because it's so complex that I can't forsee all the possible repurcussions.
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news:8f6a9a2d-00b1-46f7-9881-

They know where they are streaming content to because someone has to sign in to get the feed. I think it's really a trivial process to insure *for the most part* that their signal doesn't reach outside the broadcast area. That's central to a pillar of their case - that they are NOT like a cable operator who streams video from all over the country. Look for "traceroute" tools on Google and you can see how easy it is to figure out where someone is:
TraceRoute from Network-Tools.com to 24.3.130.170 [c-24-3-130-170.hsd1.pa.comcast.net]
Hop (ms) (ms) (ms) IP Address Host name
1 0 0 0 8.9.232.73 8-1-18.ear1.dallas1.level3.net
2 1 1 0 50.242.148.29 cr01.dallas.tx.ibone.comcast.net
3 23 21 21 68.86.88.237 cr01.56marietta.ga.ibone.comcast.net
4 34 34 36 68.86.89.153 cr01.ashburn.va.ibone.comcast.net
5 38 40 40 68.86.94.166 ar03.mckeesport.pa.pitt.comcast.net
6 42 46 46 69.139.194.102 sur01.ross.pa.pitt.comcast.net
7 39 40 40 68.85.234.122 ten03.ross.pa.pitt.comcast.net
http://network-tools.com/default.asp?prog=trace&host $.3.130.170
You can see where the data is going and how long it takes to get there. I really have no doubt that they are able to keep the majority of their data within the geographic boundary they've chosen.
If they disallow proxy servers and keep an eye on latency and number of hops to the target, I think it's rather trivial of them to tailor the service area to the broadcast "envelope." Could people get around it? Yes, but once again, it's OTA *FREE* TV and not premium content so the incentive to steal is way, way less than with "Game of Thrones." Nothing would stop anyone from making a DVD of tonight's OTA broadcast in NYC and mailing it to LA. So it seems Aereo is being exceptionally cautious to conform to the concept of them merely "repeating" OTA broadcasts to those that are entitled.
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