The big IF is if such at scheme is allowed. At the moment Aereo is keeping their service "in market", which matches the law that satellite follows (except for getting permission and paying for the stations carried). Delivering stations out of market ... especially to markets that have a competing station ... is something that Aereo has not tried.
I do not expect Aereo (or any other company) will get permission to deliver network content on out of market stations. At best I can see the local content on any station in the country being available - but not network content and not syndicated content (if the owners push to protect it).
If Aereo manages to get permission to continue to deliver in market channels without following cable or satellite rules I'll be surprised ... and hope it changes satellite delivery rules in the process.
I don't get why they have the geographic limitation in place. They've already poked the broadcasters in the eye, and their entire legal argument is that no current regulation or law on the books with regards to local broadcast station retransmission applies to them, so one would think they would have no problem letting someone who lives in Manhattan, Kansas subscribe and watch TV out of Manhattan, New York. I have to think it's probably a combination of not trying to bite off too many legal issues at once (maybe they'll loosen the geographic restrictions if they win the current round of lawsuits) and also as a way to ration the service, since bandwidth is not the only limiting factor given their novel technological solution. (I can imagine they'd have massive demand if you could subscribe to New York or LA stations from anywhere)
Aereo is weird. If you do not have a credit card billing address that Aero likes Aereo will not let you subscribe. Great way to start a new company. It seems like more and more companies are like this.
These seem to me to be companies set to as a tax write off for someone.
This is a way to make sure you live in the service area for the city you are attempting to subscribe to.
If the broadcasters were to win this fight, would it mean that I cannot stream signals from my OTA module via Sling?
Theoretically one would assume so, but the model is slightly different. As Fox has already started complaining about Dish receivers with Sling, obviously that is on the radar. I wouldn't expect them to come after individual subscribers and stand alone slingboxes would probably be harder to go after than integrated receivers like Dish receivers.
If Aereo does win, will they have to abide by the other rules that cable and satellite providers have? i.e. EAS alerts (they carry Bloomberg so they can't rely on the local stations to do it), SAP feeds for Descriptive Video as part of the disability act, closed captioning, potential franchise requirements like Public/Educational/Government access, etc. They also have the problem of the low powered stations, for example in NYC there's several low powered stations that have signals that don't get past the 5 boroughs over the air, but they are providing them to the entire market which opens up another can of worms. Of course there's the whole upending the entire must carry/retransmission consent system since you know cable and satellite will cite this as a precedent, as well as the rights issues since in some cases not even the networks have the mobile and PC rights to their programming because of other conflicting deals. i.e. WPVI Philly is the local OTA station for the Eagles cable games, however Watch ABC cannot show these games because of the exclusive deal NFL made with Verizon.
I don't think it's as far fetched as you make it out to be. I won't speak to the physics of the antennas being able to pick up VHF to UHF frequencies, but as far as the wiring, have you seen a picture of their antenna array? It's a surface mounted antenna on a circuit board. They don't necessarily have to have a run of RG-6 going from the antenna to their tuners. From a technical standpoint, I don't even think they'd need an individual antenna per subscriber as much as an individual *tuner* per subscriber. Either way, you could miniaturize the antenna and the wiring to the tuner sufficiently that you're not looking at a wall of RG-6 coming into a rack. And, an encoder + tuner could theoretically be pretty small as well. You can get fairly small ATSC USB tuners, and if they have designed their own hardware, you could get it even smaller or designed in a way that is more efficient to put in their hosting locations. ATSC being digital already means all they need is one tuner per subscriber, they can just record the digital bitstream directly. The only "encoding" they need to do is when they play the video back to the customer, and in that case they would not need an encoder for each and every subscriber. Just a sufficient amount of CPU resources which is trivial.
And, sniffing out the URLs and expecting them to be different shows a lack of understanding of how web applications are programmed. Using sessions and cookies and other techniques, you can show personalized content via standardized URLs. We don't get custom URLs on this message board, for example, even though we see different content based on our preferences.
If they win, I think the whole point will have been to establish that they don't have to play by any of the rules governing cable or satellite, so all of the issues you cite in the last part of your post would be moot. That's entirely why they're getting sued.
Edited by JosephB, 27 October 2013 - 01:44 AM.