Ken Auletta checks in on Aereo, which streams bunny-ear TV over the internet:
Why does “old” media, like television, matter? For starters, the average American, according to Nielsen, devotes at least thirty-four hours each week to watching television, plus another three to six hours of recorded programs; less than five hours per week are spent trolling the Internet on a digital device. Poorer people tend to watch more television because they can’t afford other diversions. For those who find cable too expensive, and who live in dense urban areas where roof antennas provide poor TV reception, Aereo may deliver on the promise of “public access” to free, broadcast television (though they would, again, have to pay eighty dollars a year).
Aereo’s founder, Chet Kanojia, understands the stakes. He’s received two rounds of financing totalling nearly sixty million dollars. This year, he plans to roll out a national service by making Aereo available in twenty-two cities, including Boston, Atlanta, and Dallas.