Aereo to Bring Controversial Internet TV Service to Atlanta

Startup pegs June 14 launch for TV streaming service in Hotlanta, expanding beyond NYC and Boston

Aereo, which major broadcasters are trying to sue out of existence, announced plans to launch its Internet streaming service for local TV in a third market — Atlanta, starting June 17.

The startup, which debuted in Gotham last year and is rolling out in Boston this week, will extend private invitations to Atlanta-area users June 17 and will expand a week later to any of the estimated 5.3 million consumers in 55 counties across Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.

In Hotlanta, Aereo expects to offer 27 over-the-air broadcast channels, including WSB-HD (ABC), WAGA-TV (Fox), WXIA-TV (NBC), WGCL-TV (CBS) and WPBA (PBS); special-interest channels such as France24, BounceTV, MyTV and AntennaTV; and Spanish-language broadcast channels such as Univision, MundoFox and UniMas. Customers also can add Bloomberg Television, for a total of 28 channels.

Broadcasters sued Aereo after its New York City launch last spring, arguing that the service infringes their copyrights and that the startup must pay retransmission fees like cable and satellite providers. Aereo has won two court victories to date denying broadcasters’ requests to shut it down, with the company prevailing so far on its claims that it is acting as a proxy to provide consumers free over-the-air TV via small, hosted antennas at its data centers.

Aereo announced plans in January to expand to 22 markets in 2013 beyond its initial NYC footprint. The company, backed by IAC chairman Barry Diller and others, has not disclosed how many subscribers it has.

Pricing plans for Atlanta will be the same as its offerings in New York. This week the company eliminated unpopular per-day and annual plans, refocusing on its basic plan that starts at $8 per month for 20 hours of DVR storage.