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Aereo, the service I use for free network TV over the Web, just sent me an email with good and bad news:
Aereo has been deliberately vague about the length of my free trial, so the word “remember” is, well, bullshit, but I guess it’s about time that I paid for it. But the company recently changed its pricing structure, so I have a choice.
I was signed up for the $12/month plan but definitely don’t need 40 hours of DVR space. (When I use Aereo, it’s almost always to watch live programming.) And the other options — $8/month or $80/year — are similar in assuming that I use Aereo regularly.
The reality is that I only use it when I really need access to something that’s airing live on network TV like the Olympics or the conventions. When Ann Curry gave her tearful goodbye on Today, it was great to be able to flip on my TV and watch, but I don’t need to watch that show every morning. Which is why I’m choosing Aereo’s most interesting pricing option: pay $1/day only on days when you want to watch. I think that will come to about three or four days a month, but if it’s more frequent, I should consider the other plans.
So after a long trial period and considering some other options, that’s how I’m solving my need for network TV. Not bad.
On another note, Aereo could really use some help in the marketing department. All of their communication, from customer emails to tweets, is so restrained and devoid of personality. For instance, here’s a very typical tweet they sent after the Olympics ended:
The big games are over. What are you most excited to watch now?— Aereo (@AereoTV) August 14, 2012
I caught up on the new episode of Breaking Bad by purchasing it for $2.99 from Amazon and watching it on my television through my Roku box. On my iPad, I kept an eye on the Olympics by streaming NBC live with Aereo, which is still in a free trial but will eventually cost $12 a month. When the swimming was on, I switched it over to my big screen. I followed Twitter on my iPhone, and when someone mentioned that the Yankee game was close in the bottom of the ninth, I flipped on the local radio broadcast on MLB.tv, which cost me $14.99 for the season. The Yankees lost, but it was good night — better than usual, I’ll admit — for getting by without cable.
I’ve already written about this, so just a quick review and update…
NBC Universal owns the rights to broadcast the Olympics in the U.S. Most of the good stuff will air on NBC, which you can access for free with a simple antenna. (I use Aereo for this.) Hooray!
The bad news is that lesser Olympic fare will be on NBCU’s cable channels like MSNBC and Bravo, which are out of my reach. And pretty much everything will be live streamed, but that also requires a cable subscription. (It looks like you can get an hour of viewing on the mobile and tablets apps before proving you’re a subscriber.)
Here’s the ruling yesterday by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan denying the request by broadcast networks to grant a preliminary injunction against Aereo and temporarily shut down the service.
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