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Sunday Discussion: My Thoughts Of The Aereo Ruling / Why Broadcasters Must Change Their Ways

Geek Alabama Discussion

This week, the biggest Supreme Court case I was watching was the Aereo case.  And sadly, Aereo lost, and yesterday they have suspended services and will most likely shut down entirely, unless it can find a way to pay the broadcasters fees to share their signal or lobby Congress to change the copyright laws, which will never happen since Congress is lazy.  To sum things up, the Aereo model is dead and is currently being buried in some tech graveyard where the major broadcasters are celebrating, by throwing money!

Aereo was a service that allowed each user to rent a small antenna that was housed in a building in the city where they were getting the local stations that broadcast over the air.  The thing the broadcasters did not like was the signal was being broadcast over the internet to the user renting the antenna.  If more and more people jumped onto Aereo, local TV stations would begin to lose out on broadcast fees the cable and satellite companies pay to carry the local station signals, which they are required to carry by law.  Sure, you could get the local stations via an antenna, but with the new digital signal, it’s harder to get the local stations, especially if you live in an area with mountains and high buildings.

The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that Aereo was infringing broadcasters copyright when it picks up over-the-air TV signals and streams them over the Internet to its subscribers.  And the ruling means America and the broadcasters can continue the same model that has been around for over 50 years now, which is broadcast programs and pump them up with a massive amount of commercials which you have to sit through and watch, because ads is money to the broadcasters.  It also means the shows being put online can still be subject to 8 day waits before being available to people without cable/satellite subscriptions, and the online shows have ads in them, that you can not skip even with ad blocker programs, thanks Hulu!

But the Aereo case is going to provide long-term implications, even though they lost.  It’s long time for the local TV stations to change!  Local TV stations can not continue with the old ways of forcing people to watch shows live via TV.  People are on the go and on the move, they don’t have time to watch the show at the exact scheduled time.  Yes, most shows are put online for viewing, but the local broadcasters have gotten more greedy by forcing people to enter their cable or satellite information to watch the show, or wait up to two weeks to see the latest episode.  People want to watch their shows live, via a computer or smartphone, if they are not in front of the TV.  And a service like Aereo allowed that, until the broadcasters got their way.

Yes, if that means some local TV stations shut down in each market because of lack of programming or lack of funds coming from those cable/satellite re-transmission fees, then that needs to happen.  In today’s world of digital broadcasting, one station could broadcast two or three of the major networks, from one channel using the subchannel format.  If the broadcasters don’t change and move into modern times, you will continue to see lower ratings, and more people finding ways to get around the subscription authentication to watch their favorite programs.  Ever heard of The Pirate Bay?  More and more people will steal and pirate their way to download and watch their favorite shows.

With cable/satellite bills getting higher and higher, people are getting tired of shelling out their money for channels they don’t want to watch.  Cable/satellite companies need to move to a model where people can pick and choose which channels they want to watch, but the broadcasters force all cable/satellite companies to pick up all channels they provide when deals are made, that is why the bills are so high, other than sports.  Cable and satellite companies also needs to make some changes, and allow subscribers to pick which channels they want to watch.  Or they will continue to see more and more people cutting the cord.  And once enough people cut the cord, broadcasters and local TV stations will begin to suffer, because the money they get from the subscriber fees will be reduced greatly!

If the re-transmission fees are greatly reduced because more people are cutting the cord, the broadcasters and internet providers have a plan, they will start a monthly cap for all internet users and try to end net neutrality.  But people are very smart, companies and corporations, go ahead and nickel and dime every internet user.  And force people to have a subscription to catch their favorite show online, people will find clever ways to get around the internet and subscription hassles to see their favorite shows or favorite sports teams playing.  Apparently with the Aereo ruling, broadcast companies think the people are stupid, and they can continue with their old habits, but get ready!  A change is a coming!  Whether you like it or not, broadcast companies and cable/satellite companies will change, or die off forever because people are getting tired of the shenanigans!