On Saturday, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia announced that his company would "pause our operations temporarily" after a Supreme Court decision struck a major blow to its business model.
The 2-year-old startup threatened to upend the broadcast television industry by setting up small antennas in about dozen U.S. cities to pick up broadcast TV channels and streams those signals to computers, smartphones and other devices. The service was available for $8 a month.
Those broadcast signals from Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS are available for free to anyone with an antenna, but cable companies like Comcast are required to pay billions in fees for the right to include their channels in cable packages. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling, maintaining that Aereo was infringing broadcasters' copyrights by retransmitted their programming.
The ruling was a big victory for broadcasters and cable companies, who worried that a decision favoring Aereo would open the floodgates for similar businesses that would drive consumers away from high-cost TV packages. Critics contend that services like Aereo gave consumers more choices and that the Supreme Court decision gives broadcasters more power to raise prices.
Read Kanoija's entire blog post below:
"The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." – Charles Kettering, inventor, entrepreneur, innovator & philanthropist
A little over three years ago, our team embarked on a journey to improve the consumer television experience, using technology to create a smart, cloud-based television antenna consumers could use to access live over the air broadcast television.
On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower Court decision in favor of Aereo, dealing a massive setback to consumers.
As a result of that decision, our case has been returned to the lower Court. We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps. You will be able to access your cloud-based antenna and DVR only until 11:30 a.m. ET today. All of our users will be refunded their last paid month. If you have questions about your account, please email email@example.com or tweet us @AereoSupport.
The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.
On behalf of the entire team at Aereo, thank you for the outpouring of support. It has been staggering and we are so grateful for your emails, Tweets and Facebook posts. Keep your voices loud and sign up for updates at ProtectMyAntenna.org – our journey is far from done.