Court denies Aereo attempt to be a cable company

A federal appeals court has denied Aereo’s bid to relabel itself as a cable company, after the Supreme Court killed its previous business model earlier this year.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied the company’s eleventh-hour reconsideration to call itself a “cable system” and referred the matter to a district court to decide whether “the issues are properly raised in these cases” and how to rule on them.

That’s a blow for Aereo’s late attempt to continue operating. It’s unclear whether the company will seek to fight the case at the district level to be recognized as a cable provider.

An Aereo spokesman declined to comment on the development.

For the time being, the decision won’t change operations at Aereo.

The company halted its services after the Supreme Court decided earlier this year that it needed to pay broadcast companies for the rights to retransmit their content to subscribers’ phones, tablets and other devices.

Though executives initially said they had no “Plan B” in the event that they lost their case, Aereo made a surprise move this summer of declaring that it was a cable company similar to Comcast or Time Warner Cable, and should be treated as such.

The Copyright Office told the company on July that it did not consider it a cable company, but that the issue would need to be settled by the courts. 

Before the Supreme Court ruling shut it down, Aereo offered subscribers a way to watch broadcast television channels like NBC and CBS through the Internet for a monthly fee.