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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Controversial TV-streaming service Aereo is coming to NH in May

The most controversial broadcast system in television – Aereo, which allows over-the-air streaming of channels in direct challege to Comcast – is coming to Greater Nashua.

New York City-based Aereo, which gathers over-the-air signals using large banks of tiny TV antennas and then streams the signal to customers online, said it will launch its online video platform in greater Boston – including most of New Hampshire – on May 30.

The company, which debuted last March and currently serves just New York City, will begin accepting pre-registrations on May 15.

Aereo’s technology, gathers live, over-the-air broadcasts and streams them to certain Internet-connected devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and Roku players, where they can be watched live or saved.

The company has been sued by numerous broadcasters, which say it violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them retransmission fees.

They won a major court battle earlier this year when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals said that because each client is served by just one of he tiny antennas, it does not violate retransmission laws. The court rejected a request that Aereo be immediately shut down, but the case continues.

Aereo is headquartered in Long Island City, N.Y., but founder Chet Kanojia is a graduate of Northeastern University who ran an advertising firm in Needham, Mass., before selling the company to Microsoft in 2008. Aereo has an office in Boston’s Innovation District with about 60 employees, mostly engineers and developers.

Aereo’s sells a $1 daily pass and an $8 monthly option that includes 20 hours of storage space on a cloud-based DVR.

It also sells a $12 monthly package that includes 40 hours of storage space and an option of $80 advance payment for one year of service.

Its programming lineup in Boston will will include WGBH (PBS), WBZ-TV (CBS), WCVB (ABC), WHDH (NBC), WLVI (CW), and WFXT (Fox), as well as the Country Network, PBS Kids, Univision, and Telemundo.

Aereo membership will be available to most of eastern Massachusetts, most of New Hampshire except for the three northernmost counties, and even Windham County in Vermont, just across the Connecticut River from Keene.

Aereo announced in January that it would expand to 22 cities including Miami, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.