Aereo, the controversial start-up that lets subscribers watch and record over-the-air TV signals on computers and mobile devices, is ramping up its expansion plans and will be live in at least five new cities in the next month.
On Wednesday, Aereo announced September launch dates for Dallas, Houston and Miami and surrounding counties. The service, which relies on personal dime-sized antennas, is already live in a number of big cities, including New York, Boston and Atlanta.
The expansion comes as Aereo, which offers a TV and remote DVR service for $8 a month, is fighting lawsuits from major broadcasters that argue that the company’s retransmission of their signals violates copyright and should be shut down. So far, Aereo has prevailed in a series of court decisions in the US Second Circuit, which covers New York and nearby states, but the decisions are not binding on the rest of the country.
For now, Aereo is effectively shut out of California and most of the western U.S. due to a court decisions against a would-be competitor, Film-On, that lost a case brought by the broadcasters last year. To see a map that shows the legal status of streaming TV in the US, click here.
Aereo has also gained attention in recent weeks due to a contract dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable. The fight has led the cable company to pull CBS from its list channel, and its CEO has suggested that customers can watch it on Aereo instead.
The Barry Diller-backed Aereo has not disclosed any subscriber numbers, leading some media watchers to speculate that the service’s real purpose is as a bargaining chip for cable and satellite providers to use in fee negotiations with broadcasters.
The new Aereo cities and launch dates are: Miami and nearby counties (September 2); Salt Lake (August 19); Chicago (September 13); Houston (September 16); and Dallas (September 23).