Aereo Reopens Service For New Users In NYC, Just In Time For The Olympics

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Streaming TV startup Aereo has reopened service in NYC after closing down new registrations last week.

Bloomberg reports that the company has regained enough capacity to start serving new users, and just in time for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Aereo, backed by IAC’s Barry Diller, transmits live TV content to any connected device through remote, fingertip-sized antennas. The system works very similarly to “rabbit ears” sitting on top of the TV, but with streaming content and DVR options. The service starts at $8 month.

Since launching in NYC in 2011, the company has launched in 11 different markets with plans to launch in many more soon. But legal obstacles continue to obstruct Aereo’s growth as broadcasters have repeatedly sued to shut down the service, claiming that Aereo is illegally rebroadcasting their free, OTA signals.

Thus far, Aereo has been very successful in court, arguing that each individual user has complete, and private, control over their broadcast because each user has their own remote, mini-antenna. That said, Aereo must be able to provide each user access to their own antenna at any given time, and demand simply outpaced supply in NYC last week.

The company has been scrambling to reopen registrations with the Olympics starting tomorrow.

See, Aereo probably converts much more during big, live TV spectacles. After all, most of the content you can record or get on Aereo is available on other cheap, monthly subscription services like Netflix and Hulu. Where Aereo makes the sale is with live content, and nothing is more important in live television than the Olympics.

For now, Aereo has given the green light to those on the wait list, and once that queue has cleared, general registration will open up again.