Equipment Maker Targets Aereo Subscribers with Free Antenna Offer

Channel Master targets Aereo subscribers

Aereo’s body isn’t cold yet, but at least one equipment manufacturer is hoping to make hay from the startup’s apparent demise following its decisive Supreme Court loss yesterday.

Channel Master launched a marketing promotion Thursday offering Aereo customers left hanging a special offer on a product bundle that includes a free antenna and discounted DVR. The company said Aereo subs who submit a copy of their June 2014 bill through July 6 are eligible to purchase a bundle that includes Channel Master’s SmarTenna, DVR+ and USB Wi-Fi adapter for $269.99 — a savings of $80 off the regular retail price.

SEE ALSO: The Aereo Decision: 5 Likely Scenarios for What’s Next

“The Supreme Court outcome was unfortunate for Aereo subscribers,” said Shelley O’Connell, marketing director at Channel Master. “They can still have live broadcast TV and use a DVR in a legal manner, absolutely subscription-free.”

It’s unclear how much traction Channel Master will get from the publicity stunt. Aereo never disclosed the number of subscribers it had signed up, with industry estimates pegging its base at under 500,000. But a big part of its appeal was that consumers didn’t need to purchase or install their own antennas and DVRs in the first place.

Channel Master said its indoor/outdoor SmarTenna can receive digital TV broadcast signals at distances up 50 miles. Its DVR+ includes two tuners, which lets users to record two programs at once or record one program while watching another, plus a subscription-free 14-day channel guide. The DVR includes 16 gigabytes of storage, enough for only about two hours of HD; Channel Master separately sells 1- and 3-terabyte external storage devices for $100 and $140, respectively.

Privately held Channel Master, based in Phoenix, was founded in 1949. The company holds the U.S. patent for the first aerial television antenna.

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