Aereo outlines next steps

After the Supreme Court ruled its business model was illegal, streaming TV service Aereo is turning to a more traditional cable mode of operations.

In a letter filed with a district court late on Wednesday, the company argued that it should be able to operate like a regular cable TV service.


“After the Supreme Court’s decision, Aereo is a cable system with respect to those [TV] transmission,” Aereo’s lawyer Bruce Keller wrote to a judge in the Southern District of New York.

“The Supreme Court’s holding that Aereo is a cable system under the Copyright Act is significant because, as a cable system, Aereo is now entitled to the benefits of the copyright statutory license pursuant to the Copyright Act,” he added.

In other words, if the high court declared that Aereo needed to pay fees to show broadcast TV channels, the company feels it should be allowed to do just that.

The move is a stunning about-face for the streaming service, which formerly relied on a field of miniature antennas to beam broadcast programming to subscribers’ tablets, computers and phones for a monthly fee. Aereo had argued that it was no different from an antenna sold at Best Buy and should not have to pay fees to broadcast companies like cable and satellite TV services do.

The Supreme Court denied that argument last month

Top Aereo executives had claimed there was no “Plan B” if they lost at the high court, and the company suspended its operations soon after the ruling.

In a message to subscribers on Wednesday, CEO Chet Kanojia said that the company has been through a “challenging journey.”  

“We remain committed to building great technologies that create real, meaningful alternatives for consumers,” he wrote.