Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 25, 2014
By Clark Howard
The Supreme Court has put the kibosh on a new startup from the founder of Fox TV that offered an affordable way to take your local broadcast TV on the go.
For $8/month, Aereo subscribers were able to stream ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC to phones, tablets, and Internet-enabled TVs. The service was launched with the idea that people -- particularly those under 35 -- will get their movies through a service like Netflix and then use Aereo to get local programming for live broadcasts.
Of course, the pay TV industry was not happy about Aereo! So they filed lawsuits against the company in an attempt to shut down the fledgling company. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court has now ruled Aereo in violation of the law.
There's another service called FilmOn.com that operates similarly to Aereo. And like Aereo, it too will probably be shut down now that the Supreme Court rules in favor of the pay TV operators.
Yet your ability over the next couple of years to reduce the enormous pay TV burden is coming. The cable monopoly era is not at its last dance yet, but it's not far off. And you'll have a lot of power to get video content all different ways thanks to technology.
Look at Netflix with its 50 million subscribers. They've become so influential that the fact they're going to raise rates on new subscribers made big news. Why the price hike? Because Comcast is requiring a ransom, so future customers will pay a significant amount more to offset those operational expenses.
Meanwhile, Netflix's rival Amazon Prime has locked down a multi-year agreement with HBO to be official online-only subscription steraming service offering exclusive content like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under...but no Game of Thrones!
AT&T sees the market shifting and is reportedly working on its own TV product. There are also rumors that Verizon is doing the same. AT&T may also roll out real world-class Internet connectivity in a number of cities after seeing Google's success with Fiber.
So the change is happening at light speed. But here's one important thing to note: Video content can't be free. You have to pay writers, tech people, actors, etc. But you can cut out the middle man and buy directly from the content providers. You'll pay less by getting rid of the monopoly pay TV products.
One big monkey wrench in the equation is if Comcast merges with Time Warner, they'll control 40% of access in the USA.
That said, the reality is you can slow the freight train of change, but the freight train is still coming. Ultimately, we'll all benefit -- even if you're not an early adopter of some of these newer services like Aereo.
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