Aereo is rolling its streaming TV service into the Boston area where it will take on Comcast and RCN.
Aereo will square off against Comcast’s next generation, IP/QAM-based X1 platform in Beantown, which was made its debut in Boston last year.
Starting May 15, customers who have pre-registered with Aereo will get a “special invitation” to be among the first to receive Aereo’s service. After May 30, Aereo will make membership available across the Boston area, which includes more than 4.5 million customers in 16 counties in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Consumers can request invitations through the Aereo website
Boston will be the first city to launch as part of Aereo’s 22-city expansion that was announced in January.
"Aereo is simply the easiest, most convenient way for consumers to access broadcast television online using an antenna," said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia. "Consumers deserve more choice and flexibility in how they experience television and Aereo provides them a high-quality, rationally-priced alternative. This is an exciting step forward for the company. Today's announcement is even more meaningful and special for our more than 60 employees who call the Boston area home, including me. I'm proud of our team and what we've accomplished in such a short period of time."
Out of the 60 Boston-based Aereo employees, most of them are engineers and developers.
Aereo uses small antennas to give its subscribers access to over-the-air signals. It also employs a cloud-based network DVR technology that lets users pause, rewind and fast-forward live or recorded programs on a home DVR.
In Boston, there are 28 over-the-air broadcast channels accessible through Aereo's antenna/DVR technology, including major networks such as WGBH (PBS), WBZ-TV (CBS), WCVB (ABC), WHDH (NBC), WLVI (CW) and WFXT (Fox); special interest channels such as The Country Network, PBS Kids, Ion and Qubo; and Spanish-language broadcast channels such as Univision and Telemundo.
Aereo is currently supported on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Chrome, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Safari, Opera, AppleTV (via airplay) and Roku devices.
Aereo membership is available to consumers residing in the following counties in Massachusetts: Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester; in New Hampshire's Belknap, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford counties; and in Vermont's Windham County.
Aereo launched its streaming service last year in New York City and was promptly sued by major broadcast networks, including News Corp., Disney and NBCUniversal, for copyright infringement. At the start of this month, a federal court of appeals affirmed a federal district court’s earlier decision to deny broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction against Aereo.