Well, it was fun while it lasted. In a conclusion to court cases that have been going around the country ever since the service started in 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled this morning that Aereo TV is in active violation of copyright law. The decision in favor of television and cable broadcasters and their corporate backers will effectively cripple the web and mobile streaming TV service, and may destroy the company altogether.

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Aereo TV collects local television signals via individual digital antennas and streams the output to its customers in supported areas, effectively delivering local TV over the Internet to computers and mobile devices, including Android. That alone would probably be enough to raise the ire of broadcasters, but the service charges a $8-12 fee, which includes hours of digital storage on Aereo's servers, effectively creating a web-based DVR. The lack of control for broadcasters and rights-holders, as well as the idea of someone making money off of their content, lead major American media companies including CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX to fight them in local and appeals courts at every opportunity. This is in spite of the fact that the TV signals were re-broadcasted with the station's advertising (the primary profit vector for local TV) intact.


The Supreme Court decided in a 6-3 ruling that Aereo's activity violates copyright, nullifying the argument that Aereo was simply "renting" its antenna and server technology to its users. (Aereo use is limited to customers who live in certain cities, and those users can't access streaming TV signals from other locations.) The court also said that its ruling should not impact other emerging technologies, but it's hard to imagine how anyone except the broadcasters themselves could implement a similar system in the face of the decision. Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the ruling, with Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas dissenting. 

At present Aereo offers an Android app that mirrors its web service, and the company recently added Chromecast support. It's likely that the service and the app will be shut down soon.

Source: The Verge