Aereo to bring TV streaming service to Boston in May

Boston will be the second city to get Aereo as the company begins its expansion beyond its home base of New York and fans out to 22 U.S. cities.

Next stop for Aereo's TV streaming service: Boston.

Aereo said Tuesday that it will bring its service to the Boston metropolitan area in the coming weeks. Consumers who have registered already with Aereo will be able to tune in starting May 15, and then membership will open up to everyone starting May 30.

Chet Kanojia, Aereo CEO. Greg Sandoval/CNET

Boston will be the second city to get Aereo's controversial service as the company begins its expansion beyond its home base of New York. Aereo said in January that it plans to expand to 22 cities across the U.S. over the course of this year.

"Consumers deserve more choice and flexibility in how they experience television and Aereo provides them a high-quality, rationally-priced alternative," Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said in a statement. "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."

Those 60-plus employees are primarily engineers and developers, according to Aereo.

Aereo's antenna/DVR technology lets consumers watch live, local over-the-air broadcast television on certain Internet-connected devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and Roku players. This feature has drawn the wrath -- and the lawyers -- of TV broadcasters. The startup faces lawsuits from the likes of ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, NBC Universal, and Telemundo, which alleged last year that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them retransmission fees.

At the start of April, a federal appeals court in New York upheld a lower court ruling in favor of Aereo, denying a request from the broadcasters for a preliminary injunction against the service.

The 28 Boston-based over-the-air broadcast channels accessible through Aereo will include WGBH (PBS), WBZ-TV (CBS), WCVB (ABC), WHDH (NBC), WLVI (CW), and WFXT (Fox), as well as the Country Network, PBS Kids, Univision, and Telemundo. Aereo said consumers can also add Bloomberg Television as a 29th channel.

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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