Aereo, facing a showdown with broadcasters at the U.S. Supreme Court over its TV-streaming service, will be adding support for Google’s Chromecast adapter as another option for users to watch programming on HDTVs — unless the court rules the startup illegal before then.
The startup, whose backers include IAC’s Barry Diller, announced that its live TV and DVR streaming service will be available for Chromecast on May 29.
Aereo’s future rests in the hands of Supreme Court, which is slated to hear arguments in the case starting April 22. The court is expected to rule in the case by the end of June. “If we lose, we’re finished,” Diller said in an interview last week with Bloomberg Television. “It’s very possible that there’s some salvage. But Aereo would probably, as I say probably just because … I can’t see any path forward. It probably would not be able to continue in business.”
Broadcasters sued Aereo for copyright infringement in 2012, shortly after it launched service in New York City. But the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling denying their request for an injunction to shut down Aereo. The startup successfully defended by relying on a 2008 2nd Circuit ruling that found Cablevision Systems’ remote-storage DVR (RS-DVR) service did not violate copyright laws, because it delivers a “private” performance using discrete storage for each user. In February, meanwhile, a Utah federal judge ordered Aereo to half its service in Denver and Salt Lake City, ruling that the service infringed broadcasters’ copyrights.
To use Aereo’s service with Chromecast, consumers will have to download the Aereo app for Android in the Google Play store.
Aereo currently supports playback on Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices; on Apple TV via AirPlay; and Roku boxes (via a hidden channel). Aereo’s app for Android, currently in beta, is available for download for devices running Android OS version 4.1 or higher. The service also is supported on Chrome for Mac and Windows, Safari, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox and Opera browsers.
Aereo membership begins at $8 per month, for access to live broadcast TV and up to 20 hours of DVR storage. A $12 plan provides up to 60 hours of DVR. Aereo offers one month of access for free.
Aereo is available to consumers in 11 markets: New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Antonio and Austin. The company has said it plans to launch in additional cities throughout 2014.