Broadband Roundup: With Aereo off the Air for Now, Alternatives Seek Advantage, and Legislators Advocate for Municipal BroadbandBroadband Roundup, Copyright, Wireless June 30th, 2014
Marcus Hedenberg, Reporter, Broadband Breakfast News
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2014 -Following the Supreme Court’s blow last week against Aereo, the video streaming service has shut down indefinitely as it drags back into the lower courts. Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia wrote a letter to consumers explaining the decision.
“We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps,” Kanojia said. “All of our users will be refunded their last paid month…the spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.”
Aereo lost last week’s case because the Supreme Court ruled that the service was violating network television providers’ copyright by streaming their programming without paying royalties.
With Aereo gone for now, The New York Times said other streaming companies are scrambling to fill the void by luring former traditional TV customers with their own offers. Hulu, Amazon, Google and Netflix are all developing cheap alternatives.
Roku, Sling Media, TiVo, Mohu and Simple.TV are selling hardware that lets viewers stream television to digital services or view web video on TV sets.
Simple.TV lets users buy their own antenna and the $199 Simple.TV box, which records programs on a connected hard drive. Premium service features automatic recording and remote access from around the globe. And unlike Aereo, The Times said Simple.TV customers capture signals in their homes, which consequently “fits squarely into fair use,” said Simple.TV CEO Mark Ely.
Eight Democratic congressmen led by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., are vigorously defending municipalities’ rights to build broadband networks. In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, the group wrote that “local communities should have the opportunity to decide for themselves how to invest in their own infrastructure.”
The group called on the FCC to use its “full arsenal of tools” to pre-empt state laws that prevent city-owned broadband.
Speaking of the FCC, Wheeler scheduled a vote in July on rules for closed captioning online video clips for improved accessibility, according to The Hill. While the rules would only apply to online clips of video of video programming that aired on television with closed captions, Wheeler wants all online videos closed captioned in the long run.
The Digital Media Association, which represents Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google’s YouTube, warned that “the time and cost of enabling captions is not substantially less for a 2-minute clip than for a 2-hour full-length movie.”
The National Association of Broadcasters voiced similar concern: ““the FCC must shy away from unreasonable demands that would have adverse consequences for viewers by forcing video clips off the Internet.”
Lastly, Akamai Technologies released its 1Q State of the Internet report. It revealed that global Internet speeds have increased by 24 percent over the last year and almost two percent in the last three months.
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Tagged with: Aereo, Akamai Technologies, Amazon, Apple, Chet Kanojia, Digital Media Association, Ed Markey, Google, Hulu, Mark Ely, Microsoft, Mike Doyle, Mohu, NAB, Netflix, Roku, Simple TV, Sling Media, Supreme Court, The Hille, The New York Times, TiVO, Tom Wheeler, YouTube