After a recent victory in court denying an injunction against their service, Aereo is beginning an aggressive push to expand its consumer base with a new tiered pricing scheme offering instant access to live WebTV starting as low as free, no commitment required. The catch? You have to be in New York City.
The new plans will let users sample the service for free for a single hour of live TV, or pay $1 for a day plus 10 free days to watch the shows you recorded that day. They are also offering monthly and yearly subscription plans with DVR storage. All local broadcast channels are included, most notably all the big networks, and you can access the service with any iOS, OS X, AppleTV or Roku device (additional device support expected later this summer). Anyone can try the free service without providing any credit card information as long as they are in the boundaries of New York City.
They are able to provide the broadcast service using tiny TV antennas small enough to fit in a fingertip that are connected to the Internet and housed in data centers. By using what is essentially high-tech rabbit ears, they are able to avoid paying the big retransmission, or “retrans,” fees that cable companies have to pay networks for access to their programming and offer highly competitive pricing. No licensing constraints, and no sharing their revenue – no wonder the networks are upset!
It might not seem worth it when you consider the limited channels available and the fact that many of the networks have free apps that let you watch their shows, but the one-day service could become popular for the live events such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl.
The aggressive new pricing scheme, along with attractive referral offers for up to 3 months free, show that Aereo is serious about growing a following beyond the few thousand early adopters. The networks are gearing up to appeal, of course, but in the meantime New Yorkers are free to enjoy live on-the-go access to their favorite broadcast networks.