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TV Broadcasters Want Money for Streaming Over The Air Signals – Tech Tuesday

I’m sure many of us know the difference between cable TV and over the air TV. If not, over the air is free for anyone with an antenna to pick up and watch. While cable uses antennas to pick up signals and strengthen and rebroadcast them to subscribers. A company that gives you the ability to stream your own over the air signals to your personal devices. Broadcasters say they need to be paid licensing fees.

The TV antenna Rich purchased when he cut the cable.
Photo Rich Lawrence/TSM

The company is called Aereo and they essentially developed an antenna that receives the signals from local over the air broadcasters and turns them into a video stream you can access with your smartphone or tablet to watch. Broadcasters like ABC, FOX, PBS and a few more, all say that Aereo is like a cable company and has to pay them, so they are suing Aereo for copyright infrignment. While Aereo says they simply made an antenna that combines the step of changing the signal to a stream. One important difference between cable and Aereo, is that they are not charging subscriptions. It’s just an antenna like the rabbit ears antenna you can buy for $15 at Radio Shack.

So the question again is, why do broadcasters want to stop them? Because they see something they can turn into money and don’t really care about the consumer’s rights. As least that is what I see. If I decide to drop cable and put up antenna to receive over the air broadcasts of WTEN, WRGB, and the other local broadcast stations, they can’t make me pay a fee. It’s being broadcast out to the public at large on public airwaves. If I decide to build a DVR and record those over the air broadcasts for viewing after I get home from work or whatever, they can’t charge me their either. So how is this different with Aereo?

I think it’s safe to say that the amount of money being asked for in these things, pretty much kills competition and stifles innovation. Look at music streaming and the whole copyright debacle with the RIAA. It’s way out of balance and those organizations are way out of touch and have no clue what they are doing in the modern digital world.

And if anyone wants to know how to cut the cable cord, like I did, send me an email, and I’ll gladly tell you how I did it.

$>/usr/bin/rm -rf broadcast.tv.stupid.lawsuits

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