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Aereo to launch in Denver as it scampers to year-end goal

It's crunch time to reach 22 cities by the end of 2013, and Aereo's next rollout hits Monday in parts of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

An array of Aereo antennae
Aereo's array of tiny antennae let consumers watch live, local television broadcasts online.

Aereo, the cloud-based TV service, said Tuesday that it will launch in Denver next week, as it rushes to meet its goal of expanding from New York to 22 new cities in the US this year. Denver's broadcast market spans 3.4 million consumers in 67 counties in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

The service, which uses tiny antennas to stream over-the-air programming to its members, currently operates in eight cities: Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, and New York, where it first launched.

In the year-end crunch to reach 22 cities, Aereo has delayed its rollout in Chicago, which would have been its next biggest market after New York. Aereo said in September it was testing its service in the Chicago area when it "encountered issues" with its testing site, according to a blog post from the company.

Aereo Chief Executive and founder Chet Kanojia has warned for weeks that Aereo may fall a couple cities short of its 2013 wish list, but he hasn't reined in the goal any more than that, even as time to reach the remaining 14 metro areas dwindles.

Aereo also has said it would be expanding to San Antonio, Texas; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, but those areas are additional to the 22 planned for this year.

Aereo, backed by IAC Chairman Barry Diller, offers a cloud-based DVR that lets users record over-the-air programming and play it back on personal devices.

Aereo has long maintained that being the target of multiple lawsuits by media companies isn't crimping its expansion plans. The service has been sued by all the broadcast network giants in a New York-based court, including CBS (the parent of CNET), and it also faces other suits in Boston and Utah by other channels.

The companies claim Aereo violates their copyrights by streaming their broadcasts to its paying members without in turn paying them a fee. So far, the courts have largely ruled on Aereo's side, saying the companies have not been able to prove copyright infringement.

However, the television broadcasters have petitioned the US Supreme Court to get involved.