I’m a somewhat recent convert to the cord-cutting philosophy of ditching the traditional cable and satellite tv providers in favor of digital services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. That is to say, I’ve had cable at some point in the last 2 years and haven’t looked back since moving on.
Right now I’m experimenting with using Aereo. Aereo is a cloud-based streaming and DVR service created by a startup of the same name. You might have heard of them since they’ve been in the news lately. Broadcasters are none too happy with Aereo allowing viewers to stream live tv, record programs to the cloud, watch when they want, and skip the commercials of recorded shows.
In fact, the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear an appeal by America’s largest broadcast television networks—CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, PBS, and others—regarding the legality of Aereo’s platform. The New Yorker published an article with all the gory details (read it here) but let’s focus on what matters most to a potential subscriber: Is it worth it?
The short answer: Yes. For just $8 a month ($12 if you want to record up to two shows and stream tv simultaneously—and you will) Aereo allows subscribers to “record” shows to a cloud service and watch them on a wide range of devices. I’m using my Roku to watch live shows and find others I want to record. Since I’m paying the $12 per month (or will be once my free 30 days is up) I can record a show at 9pm and watch something else at the same time.
It’s easy to manage, too. You can manage your settings and recordings through something like a Roku or Apple TV device, or do what I do and log in to your account through a browser. Since I mostly use Aereo to watch what I’ve recorded, I like being able to go online, look through the guide for the entire day or week, and select what I want recorded. Then when I’m home, I can just pull up the Aereo channel on my Roku and watch those shows.
Aereo allows for 20 hours of recording with the normal $8 monthly charge, and 60 hours with the $4 upgrade. But there are some drawbacks. Aereo doesn’t currently broadcast any “package” or “premium” cable channels. That means no Cartoon Network, CNN, or HBO. You will get the usual big networks and a host of local channels in your area, but some of the ones you might really want just won’t be available. Right now I augment Aereo with subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu Plus, but I’m thinking of ditching one of them. The decision is proving to be a tough one.
As for the future of Aereo, it’s really anyone’s guess. Is it legal? Are traditional broadcasters just scared to admit their format for providing content is dying? If you’re interested in cutting the cable cord, you can always stream the news on Aereo to find out. Click here to find out if Aereo is available in your city.