Aereo, a service that lets users watch live TV on their iPhones, tablets and computers, has expanded from New York City to 29 counties across New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The company is also kicking off a major billboard campaign in the New York area.
For the unfamiliar, Aereo is a subscription service that lets users sign up for $1 a day or $8 month to watch over-the-air TV on their mobile devices and to record shows for later viewing. The technology involves assigning two dime-sized antennas to each subscriber which beam the TV from Aereo’s offices (you can see photos of the antennas in action here).
Until now, Aereo has kept a low profile, offering its service with little fanfare in New York City. But at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas this January, it said it would roll out to 22 new markets in coming months. The decision to go live in the new areas around New York City — see the full list below — was announced by Aereo this morning and appears to be the first step in the planned expansion. Aereo is also expected to soon offer the service for more non-Apple devices; right now, users can watch Aereo on the iPhone and iPad as well as on computers via various internet browsers.
To publicize the service, Aereo said it will advertise on New York City billboards as well as major transit hubs and commuter rail services in the region.
The expansion comes as Aereo remains locked in a bitter legal battle with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox which are suing to shut it down. The networks argue that Aereo is infringing its copyright by retransmitting its signals without permission; Aereo counters that its personal antenna system means the transmissions are private and within the law (you can read legal details here).
“Today, consumers are tethered to expensive and outdated technology that limits how, when and where they can enjoy their own television programming,” said Aereo’s CEO Chet Kanojia in the news release. “Aereo’s technology now lets us provide simplicity, ease of use and rational pricing – three things that have all but disappeared for the consumer.”
To learn more about how Aereo is disrupting TV and other cutting edge media topics, come hear Kanojia speak at paidContent Live in New York on April 17.
The list of counties that can now tune into Aereo include: New York’s Bronx, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Sullivan, Orange, Dutchess; Connecticut’s Fairfield County; Pennsylvania’s Pike County; New Jersey’s Bergen, Warren, Union, Sussex, Somerset, Passaic, Ocean, Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Hunterdon, Hudson, and Essex. Check zip code eligibility here.
Correction: an earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Chet Kanojia’s last name as Atkins.