Aereo to subscribers: We're taking 'a pause'

Aereo, the upstart television company, told its subscribers Saturday that it was temporarily shutting down, just days after the Supreme Court said its operations were illegal.

Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s founder, stressed in the message that the company had “decided to pause our operations,” as it figured out how to respond to a 6-3 court decision that he called “a massive setback to consumers”.

Kanojia said Aereo would go off the air at 11:30 on Saturday morning, and that subscribers would get a refund for the last month of their subscription.

It’s unclear what options Aereo has in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, which returned the company’s case to a lower court.

Aereo has said that its service, which relied on a collection of tiny antennas to send free broadcast signals to individual laptops, was legally no different than using a store-bought antenna.

“The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud,” Kanojia said Saturday.

But Aereo also didn’t pay broadcast companies the fees that cable and satellite companies do, leading ABC, CBS, NBC and other media companies to closely watch the Supreme Court case. The court’s majority found that “ Aereo is not simply an equipment provider.”