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Aereo versus broadcasters could reach US Congress - report

December 14
6:49 AM 2013

The battle for television space between TV over Internet startup Aereo and some major broadcasting players could rage on in the US Congress, analysts had said. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC failed to win its case against Aereo to stop the startup from conducting its services.

Aereo emerged victorious in two federal court rulings, Investors Business Daily said today. According to its report, the startup has requested the US Supreme Court to hear the appeal of the TV broadcasters who are seeking to shut it down, and it expects to oppose the injunction sought by ABC owner Walt Disney, CBS, Twenty-First Century Fox and NBC owner Comcast. On the other hand, Aereo's efforts poured into legal proceedings had slowed down its plans for growth, said the report.

The New York-based startup's technology has been the nightmare of many television broadcasters. Aereo allows its subscribers to view over-the-air television live, as well as time-shifted streams on Internet-connected devices. Aereo offers antennas for sale that pick up and record live, over-the-air signals of broadcasters in order to broadcast the shows on Web-connected devices. This technology avoids carriage fees, or also known as retransmission fees in the broadcasting industry, as pay-TV companies like Comcast, DirecTV Group, and Verizon Communications pay.

Aereo Chief Executive Officer Chet Kanojia said in a statement, "We want this resolved on the merits rather than a wasteful war of attrition."

Stifel Nicolaus anayst Christopher King offers a word of warning over Kanojia's strategy in a separate report, "If the broadcasters don't shoot down Aereo's service in court, they could start to push hard for Congress to write new legislation to ensure they receive Internet video provider payments for their programming.

Pay-TV companies reportedly have been clamoring for the US Congress or the Federal Communications Commission to step in as they could get concessions from broadcasters should Aereo's services continue, the report said. However, Rep Greg Walden, who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's communications subcommittee, said that it is not going to happen for know and that no revisions will be done regarding revising broadcast retransmission rules in a satellite-TV bill set to be implemented in 2014

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