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Broadcasters take their case against Aereo to the Supreme Court & Win


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195 replies to this topic

#76 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 02:09 AM

I'd simply say I can't believe or disbelieve it but in reality I think that the reason the broadcasters aren't going after that part is because there are technically ways around this entire issue if their antennas where not real. They could literally put up larger antennas. It'd cost a boat load more but they could physically do it. They need to stop the right to do it, not the method.

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#77 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:36 AM

And then there are the whippersnappers who think that they know it all because they can use the Internet. (Some of them can't even spell Internet correctly - but they are experts.) I'll be glad to ignore all the comments in your post that reflect bias against qualified professionals.

Sad to say but the occupation of "broadcast engineer" is fading away. It is hard to find people who actually understand the technology and know how it works and those that do don't want the responsibility, pay and hours that come with the job. Owners that further devalue the remaining engineers to the point where they no longer keep one around. They can always get someone to Google the answer ... and if that doesn't work they can use Bing. :rolleyes:

You claim that "they are actually working". You can only base that claim on the claims of Aereo. You believe them, that is fine. But belief is not proof.


I've left the door open and have invited Aereo to show me. A practical demonstration would be nice. It is amazing that a dime sized piece of metal can be specifically tuned to any channel on such a huge spectrum. Show me the technology.

 

I don't "believe" to 100% certainty that they work like they say, but I have to take them at their word. They have been sued multiple times and testified under oath and submitted the technical documentation. They've also raised tens of millions of dollars. I don't think they would have done either of those if it were all a scam. However, I wouldn't bet my life on it. There are degrees of belief. At any rate, it's not impossible, and without any knowledge of how they actually work it's not correct for anyone--lay person or 50 year broadcast engineer--to dismiss it out of hand.



#78 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

I don't "believe" to 100% certainty that they work like they say, but I have to take them at their word.


No, you do NOT have to take them at their word. There is no such requirement.
 

At any rate, it's not impossible, and without any knowledge of how they actually work it's not correct for anyone--lay person or 50 year broadcast engineer--to dismiss it out of hand.


It is not correct to accept the claims out of hand either. The "if you don't know it must be true" attitude is what allows rumors and incorrect knowledge to spread. For example, when your banking information is lost by your bank they will send you an email directing you to a non-secure website to reenter your current banking information so they can reset it for you. If you don't know that is a scam then it must be true. Someone in Africa has personally chosen you, yes you, out of the millions of people on the Internet to help them transfer millions of dollars between accounts. They will pay you thousands of dollars for helping them. If you don't know that is a scam then it must be true.

I'm sure that in your experience there are hundreds if not thousands of things that you know are scams yet every time you hear about a friend or neighbor falling victim you think really? You fell for that? (I had a boss who would forward his spam to me asking if it were true. Aggravating.) There is nothing wrong with being skeptical.

The legal arguments on the separate antennas, tuners and storage issue reflect the discussion here. So far Aereo has been more convincing than those challenging their service. But that is only a "so far". With the common man's grasp of technology and "if you don't know it must be true" attitude I can see why the broadcasters are focusing on the rights argument.

The courts ruled decades ago that the public broadcast TV signals were the property of the broadcasters and the broadcaster could decide whether or not cable or satellite could retransmit their signal. Overturn that ruling and everyone wins (except the broadcasters). Aereo is retransmitting. They own the antennas, receivers, storage and charge a fee for access. Why shouldn't they be treated just like cable and satellite?
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#79 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:43 PM

The courts ruled decades ago that the public broadcast TV signals were the property of the broadcasters and the broadcaster could decide whether or not cable or satellite could retransmit their signal. Overturn that ruling and everyone wins (except the broadcasters). Aereo is retransmitting. They own the antennas, receivers, storage and charge a fee for access. Why shouldn't they be treated just like cable and satellite?

 

Well, that's what the courts have to decide, I suppose.

 

I will say this. The airwaves belong to us, not the broadcasters. If they abandon them for cable they owe us quite a bit for allowing them to use our airwaves to build their business. I think retransmission fees are a load of crap, to be perfectly honest. They should pick either being a free broadcaster or a pure cable channel--Aereo style "disruption" or not.


Edited by JosephB, 03 November 2013 - 12:44 PM.


#80 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:15 AM

The courts ruled decades ago that the public broadcast TV signals were the property of the broadcasters and the broadcaster could decide whether or not cable or satellite could retransmit their signal. Overturn that ruling and everyone wins (except the broadcasters). Aereo is retransmitting. They own the antennas, receivers, storage and charge a fee for access. Why shouldn't they be treated just like cable and satellite?

 

The problem is that the legal definition of retransmitting doesn't include Internet point-to-point communication.  If you have a Hopper or SlingBox or an "Advanced" DirecTV DVR that can stream your video, it could also then be technically retransmitting the broadcast signal.  What Aereo does is lease you a tuner+antenna combination and then allows you to access "your" antenna+tuner via the Internet.  In theory, it would be no different for them to have 5,000,000 Dish Hoppers and receivers set up and allowed you to access "your" DVR through the Dish app (although this would violate Dish's terms of service, the technical and legal hurdle WRT the broadcasters would be the same.)  However, the courts have not ruled so far that using Sling or other technology to watch your DVR's programs from a remote location violates copyright in any way.



#81 OFFLINE   kenglish

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 07:58 AM

AEREO must gave some special patents on genetic manipulation, too.

They'd have to breed some very, very small machinists, to have them crawl inside there and "tune" those antennas to different channels every time.

FILTERS could be used to change the tuning of each receiver, but that would be the same technology that's been used for decades, in TV sets and Cable TV processors.



#82 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:12 AM

Aereo holds four releated patents:
20120127363 – Antenna system with individually addressable elements in dense array
20120127374 – System and method for providing network access to antenna feeds
20120129479 – Method and system for processing antenna feeds using separate processing pipelines
20120131621 – System and method for providing network access to individually recorded content

Source: http://anewdomain.ne...o-antenna-tech/

 

Thanks for doing this!  I was going to pull up their patents this weekend, but you beat me to it.

 

They work exactly the way I thought they would work.  The antenna is an array (it's in the title of the patent), and each element within it is addressable.  That's not really a new idea.  But the proper definition of "antenna" would be the entire array.  You need the effects of the entire array to get a decent signal from any of its individual elements.  An individual element cannot get a decent enough signal on its own.

 

So customers are sharing an antenna and are paying to access a tiny bit of it.

 

Whether that has any bearing on the larger issue at hand depends on how "receiving" and "rebroadcasting" are defined.

 

Also, note that no one can copy Aereo's design without paying them a royalty.  If the royalty is more (or even slightly less) than the rebroadcast fees, what's the point?


Edited by bobcamp1, 04 November 2013 - 11:20 AM.


#83 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:30 AM

Thanks for doing this!  I was going to pull up their patents this weekend, but you beat me to it.

They work exactly the way I thought they would work.  The antenna is an array (it's in the title of the patent), and each element within it is addressable.  That's not really a new idea.  But the proper definition of "antenna" would be the entire array.  You need the effects of the entire array to get a decent signal from any of its individual elements.  An individual element cannot get a decent enough signal on its own.

How do you know the latter? 


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#84 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 12:13 PM

How do you know the latter? 

 

Physics.  And I read the patent.  Isolation is not mentioned at all in the patent, and the fact they use the word "array" all the time strongly implies that each element isn't designed to get the signal on its own.  

 

There are several antenna arrays, and each array is further divided into groups.  Each group is tuned for one specific channel, though there may be multiple groups assigned to a specific channel across multiple arrays.  When you request to tune into channel A, you dynamically get assigned an element that belongs to the group that is already tuned into channel A.  If you change to channel B, then the element you were using is released (but stays tuned to channel A) and you are dynamically assigned an element to a group that was already tuned to channel B.  Element assignment is based on several factors including RSSI.  This allows them to cherry-pick the best elements for use, which means there are elements that could be sacrificial.

 

The patent does its typical "patent thing" and also covers other similar-but-not-implemented implementations, but theirs is most likely the first one mentioned in the patent because it has the most detail and other patents (including mine) are written like that.  It does cover the implementation of one element permanently assigned to a user, though doesn't say how well it would work.  It also says that each array can have different sized elements, which would address James Long's and my concern over how each element could cover the three different bands on its own (it can't, but doesn't have to.  One could buy or lease three different-sized elements or one element that is permanently tuned for each TV station).



#85 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:27 PM

Physics.  And I read the patent.  Isolation is not mentioned at all in the patent, and the fact they use the word "array" all the time strongly implies that each element isn't designed to get the signal on its own.


They are trying to push their claim with "individually addressable elements", "separate processing pipelines" and "individually recorded content". I'd love to run a packet sniffer on the internal network to see how everything stays dedicated to the individual.
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#86 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:44 PM

The problem is that the legal definition of retransmitting doesn't include Internet point-to-point communication.  If you have a Hopper or SlingBox or an "Advanced" DirecTV DVR that can stream your video, it could also then be technically retransmitting the broadcast signal.


The legal definition needs to open up to be technology free ... otherwise FIOS could retransmit any station anywhere without permission or payment.
 

What Aereo does is lease you a tuner+antenna combination and then allows you to access "your" antenna+tuner via the Internet.


That is the theory ... but there is a lot more shared resources in the Aereo model than with individually owned and operated antenna / tuner / recorder setups.
 

In theory, it would be no different for them to have 5,000,000 Dish Hoppers and receivers set up and allowed you to access "your" DVR through the Dish app (although this would violate Dish's terms of service, the technical and legal hurdle WRT the broadcasters would be the same.)


The broadcasters will NEVER be 100% happy with any arrangement where their signal is retransmitted. But looking at it realistically, "hosting" in the same market (not violating distribution rules and blackouts) would probably be permitted by the courts ... and a Sling / Hopper combination would have both the permission and payment that comes with a subscription to the service. The channels can charge DISH for such a rebroadcast. Aereo isn't paying the stations.
 

However, the courts have not ruled so far that using Sling or other technology to watch your DVR's programs from a remote location violates copyright in any way.


Other than the integration with some DISH products Sling is a separate product that is owned and operated by the consumer. In the battle over Aereo the broadcasters have attacked Sling (claiming that the rights they sold DISH to rebroadcast their signals to homes does NOT include devices outside the home).

I'm not sure how this case will end ... and how much of a landmark it will be. It has the potential to remove a lot of restrictions on broadcast retransmission or to add further restrictions. Stay tuned ...
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#87 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 07:15 PM

Stay tuned on a single tuner or on an array?!!  :)

 

Very interesting stuff this is! 


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#88 OFFLINE   trdrjeff

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:15 PM

SCOTUS has agreed to hear the case :)


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#89 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:18 PM

Excellent.

#90 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 03:54 PM

SCOTUS has been pretty much bought and paid for by NAB/MPAA/RIAA and big business in general, so I don't expect a ruling in favor of consumers.


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#91 OFFLINE   Athlon646464

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 05:34 PM

Aereo vs. TV networks case will be heard by the Supreme Court
 
Other than Aereo's fledgling service, at stake is the ability of broadcasters to charge pay-TV companies for the right to carry their signals. If Aereo wins, there have been indications that cable/satellite services might buy it or build their own version, cutting the broadcasters out of a large sum of cash.
 

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#92 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 05:49 PM

I wish CBS (and the other networks) would take their content to a "cable only" distribution.  That would allow the local broadcasters to innovate a little bit, and offer more locally interesting content, more local news and weather, and mix it up.


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#93 OFFLINE   scooper

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 07:27 PM

Be careful what you ask for.

 

Taking the network content off the local stations might be what kills local broadcasting -  so instead of 4-10 independent stations  (average) per market - you MIGHT be able to have 1-2 , whose programming will mainly consist of the syndicated shows (like Steve Harvey, Ellen, Maurey Povich, etc.), with SOME locally produced news.


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#94 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 07:56 PM

I am disappointed that PBS appears to have joined the bad guys here. 


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#95 OFFLINE   ws_sw

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 08:14 PM

you realize since 99 when the FCC tried to force all OTA braodcasters to turn over the spectrum and were forces to stop it, there next schemes are these audtions to buy/force spectrum holders to hand over there OTA spectrum.  so they can sell it for wireless mbile junk.

 

The founder of AERO is a frontman / public face for the FCC who wants to end free tv in this country.



#96 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 10:09 PM


The founder of AERO is a frontman / public face for the FCC who wants to end free tv in this country.

 

Its not free if you have to pay for it.  I know of no one, personally, who doesnt have to pay for "Free TV". 


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#97 OFFLINE   ws_sw

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 12:01 AM

Its not free if you have to pay for it.  I know of no one, personally, who doesnt have to pay for "Free TV". 

you very well knew I was talking about the content aka OTA channels



#98 OFFLINE   tpm1999

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:25 AM

It is high-time that the TV-cable-broadcast system is disrupted.  This mess that has been going on for decades and must change.  It took a near collapse in sales for the music industry to change (and finally accept digital)...unfortunately a collapse of cable/sattellite subscribers is the only thing that will convince them to change.  


Edited by tpm1999, 11 January 2014 - 05:34 AM.

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#99 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:21 AM

you very well knew I was talking about the content aka OTA channels

Right, and even if it is free with an OTA antenna, I know of no one that doesnt have to pay for it.  I get all my OTA channels "free" with my antenna, but both DirecTv and Comcast charge me for them anyway, with no option to "opt out".  


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#100 OFFLINE   ws_sw

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:09 AM

Right, and even if it is free with an OTA antenna, I know of no one that doesnt have to pay for it.  I get all my OTA channels "free" with my antenna, but both DirecTv and Comcast charge me for them anyway, with no option to "opt out".  

Thwy won't admit it besides I have locals available and I do not pay for them / even have them on my Directv system. I was able to opt-out






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