Generally speaking, I don’t watch very much television. I think TV turns your brains into mush. The so-called “news” is so biased towards the political views of the network owners I can’t stand to watch it.
There are a few of the “retro” TV stations and public television stations that air some watchable content. I would like to pick up these stations using an HD antenna, but I’m out in the sticks and would need a 400ft tower to pick anything up…especially now that we switched to digital HD format.
Another issue is the DVR. I would need one running constantly to record the few shows worth watching. A DVR consumes lots of power, and since I’m off grid that’s not something I would choose to operate with my current power system.
Along comes Aereo a new TV service that has an antenna mounted to the roof of a data center someplace. They can stream any shows they receive with their antenna over the internet. They can also record shows and stream them back to you at a later time.
You might think that the cable companies would take issue with what they are doing, and you would be right. There has been lots of legal wrangling going on and I’m not sure how it will play out.
In the meantime, I pre-registered for their Boston service some time ago. Earlier this week I got my invite and signed up on the side of the road from my iPhone. For 8 bucks a month I get access to live TV and 20 hours of DVR space.
After signing up (on the side of the road) the first show I tuned in to was Bonanza. There has been some cattle rustling going on at the Ponderosa…the picture was perfect and never skipped a beat while Hoss took care of business.
Since then, I have set up the DVR to record This Old House, Star Trek, and a bunch of other stuff. When at home, I watch with my iPad and get excellent video even over my slow ass DSL line which is only about 1.5Mbps down and .3Mbps up.
You can register up to 5 devices with the service but you can only use them when you are located in the area where you signed up. Their system uses the location services in your web browser to verify you are located in the service area.
If you use the Firefox browser there are some Geo-Location spoofing add-ons that you can use to get access in other places. You still need a billing address in the target location in order to sign up, so this little trick won’t let you get access if you live outside the service area.
Is this Ethical?
Is it ethical to pay a third-party to intercept TV signals on your behalf? Is it ethical for that third-party to profit from TV signals that are broadcast and available for free?
I say yes. The TV stations are too cheap to properly broadcast these signals to my house. The cable companies are too cheap to string wires in my town. Given the proper antenna mast and other equipment, I could intercept these signals myself. I choose not to buy that equipment and pay to use someone elses.
The company has money invested in this equipment and rightfully deserves to be paid for their service. The content is being delivered full of commercials and other advertising even the content providers are getting paid.
If the networks were not so technologically backwards they could have built this service themselves and took my money instead of Aereo. Someone else beat them to it and now they are forced to play catch up. Hopefully they play catch up by spending money on services, rather than in the courts. Competition is a good thing and I hope this is the start of more content being streamed over the internet.
For a measly 6 watts of power (DSL modem), I have access to over the air TV and a DVR. It would take 10 to 20 times that much power if I had to do this myself with an antenna and DVR.
The Aereo service rocks! In my rather odd living arrangements it fills my needs perfectly. When it rolls out near you, I suggest you give it a try. As with all my reviews, I received no compensation from Aereo or anyone else. My opinions are my own and no one elses.