Aereo set to launch in Cincinnati

By Ben Mook

Even as it prepares to defend itself before the U.S. Supreme Court, online TV service Aereo Inc. continues to roll out in new markets — most recently in Cincinnati, the company announced today.

Aereo will launch in the greater Cincinnati region Jan. 21. It initially launched in New York City and expanded to Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Denver, Houston and Salt Lake City. The company plans to launch in additional cites throughout the year.

With the Cincinnati launch, viewers will be able to watch online 30 over-the-air channels including ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS affiliates as well as CET, the PBS station in Cincinnati.

Aereo lets subscribers view and record television broadcast programs via the Internet. The company uses banks of dime-sized antennas to capture broadcast signals and convert them into streaming video distributed via Internet. Subscribers then “rent” the antennas and have the option to watch TV programs live or on demand using a device similar to a digital video recorder.

Aereo is embroiled in litigation brought by networks to have the service shut down. In a pair of lawsuits, noncommercial broadcasters including PBS and New York’s WNET and commercial broadcasters including ABC, CBS and NBC have claimed Aereo is violating the U.S. Copyright Act.

After an unsuccessful attempt to secure an injunction against Aereo, broadcasters appealed one of the cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed this month to hear the case, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al., v. Aereo, Inc. The case before the Supreme Court involves the commercial broadcasters, but a ruling will affect noncommercial broadcasters as well.

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