Despite court battles, Aereo is on a roll. The startup just announced its streaming TV service will hit Chicagoland September 13. This comes just a month after the company announced its Atlanta launch details. Once Chicago is online, Aereo will be live in four of the country’s biggest cities, serving up network television to over 12 million Americans.
“There’s no place like Chicago and we’re excited to be launching in this world-class city in September,” said Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia said in a released statement today. “Consumers want more choice and flexibility when it comes to how they watch television and the enthusiastic response to our technology from people across the country has been humbling. At Aereo, we feel that we’ve built something meaningful for consumers and we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished. However, there’s still much more to come as we continue our expansion into new cities throughout the summer and fall.”
Chicago marks Aereo’s fourth service area. The startup started in New York City quickly expanding to the surrounding areas. Boston came next followed by Atlanta a few days back. This is all while the company is fighting for its life in and out of the courtroom.
The big networks are fighting to stop Aereo from disrupting the status quo. Aereo essentially takes over-the-air signals and places them online. These signals are captured via tiny antenna’s rather than a direct transmitting from the networks themselves. This allows Aereo to bypass paying expensive retransmission fees, a fact that doesn’t sit well with the suits at the big networks.
But this isn’t about stealing content, famed TV executive turned Aereo investor Barry Diller. This is about moving TV to IP.
Right now, without Aereo, or any of its clones, television is not available through the Internet. Hulu and the like were built to serve as an advertising platform more so than a streaming platform. Aereo simply wants to bring TV to the Internet — while making a boat-load of cash doing it too.
Despite its gumption, Aereo’s legal troubles should not be ignored. Launching in more cities and more regions will only bring more attention to its disruptive business model. But likewise, Aereo cannot not sit idly, waiting for the hammer of justice to perhaps rule in its favor. It needs to launch. And with Chicago on the docket, it seems that’s exactly what the company is doing.