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Simple.TV antenna DVR debuts ability to share recorded TV shows

Simple.TV says it doesn't anticipate any legal issues for its new feature allowing users to share their recorded shows with up to five others, regardless of whether or not the invitees have the paid service.

Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Simple.TV is one of several new DVRs that allow cordcutters to record TV shows off broadcast TV and watch them on a variety of mobile devices and digital set-top boxes like Roku. But now Simple is upping the ante on its competition with a new feature that allows users share their recordings with others.

The new option will allow Simple.TV owners to send up to five invites to non-users via its website, who -- after creating a free account -- will be able to view recorded programs, though not watch live TV. The invited users will be able to access the programs via the Simple.TV website or via an Android, iOS, or Windows 8 app.

At first glance, that sounds like a mashup of Slingbox and Aereo. The latter company, of course, is near death after the Supreme Court ruled that it was a rebroadcaster and therefore liable for cable rebroadcast fees. (CNET's parent company, CBS, was one of broadcasters that sued Aereo.) However, Simple.TV says its service is different because it limits the way the content is distributed and to whom.

"Simple.TV is well-versed in copyright law, and even more so in the wake of the Aereo decision," Simple.TV CEO Mark Ely told CNET.

"The latest sharing feature grants access to the viewer while they are logged in and does not allow for posting video content to the Internet or social media sites, nor can they download the content on their own device", Ely said. "As such," he continued, "that still falls well within private performance, so we don't anticipate any legal repercussions or issues with permission from content holders."

Simple.TV also announced it will be updating its iOS and Android apps with a "much more robust program guide and increased ease of use for the customer base."