Remember when catching up on a TV show required numerous trips to Blockbuster in a single weekend? Us neither. For years we’ve been mainlining our television shows entire seasons at a time, thanks to the glories of video streaming. How else would anyone have made it through the dismal nadir of season three of “Lost”? What do you think got Americans addicted to “Downton Abbey”?
So when I sat down to watch the first episode of “House of Cards” on Saturday, as a way of killing laundry time, I didn’t expect I’d stretch the show out over the next 13 weeks, like I was watching “Dallas” circa 1982. But I also wasn’t planning to find myself awake at 2 a.m. last night, polishing off the last episode and frantically googling “house of cards season 2 please oh please tell me it’s coming soon.”
Aereo, the IAC-backed startup that uses thumb-sized antennae to live-stream–and record!–broadcast TV, Hulu, and Netlix to any mobile device, isn’t even technically available for another couple days. But that hasn’t stopped IAC chairman Barry Diller from thinking big.
At a keynote address at SXSW yesterday, Mr. Diller predicted that Aereo, which will be available in New York City starting March 14th, will be in 75 to 100 cities within the year. That chipper, can-do attitude extended to Aereo’s competitors as well.
“I completely understand their motivation. It’s going to be a great fight,” Mr. Diller said of the two-fold lawsuits from broadcasters like CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, CW, and PBS alleging copyright violations.
A magical thing happened at IAC’s headquarters this morning. A startup called Aereo displayed the most compelling argument for cord-cutting we’ve heard in awhile. It came in the form of a thumbnail-sized HD antenna. Sign up with Aereo and users get the right to license their own antenna, which are stored in a local warehouse. Then, log on via any web-enabled device (smartphones, iPads, even AppleTV) and ta-da, members can access major networks like CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, CW, and PBS, as well as other local channels. Better yet, you also have the ability store up to 40 hours of programming on their remote DVR.
“No cords or cable required,” the company’s press release says pointedly. The service is limited to New York City right now, but only costs $12 a month. Throw in a Netflix account, Hulu, and you’re probably good to go. Happy Valentine’s Day, Dying Cable Industry!
Aereo (formerly called Bamboom Labs) also anounced a $20.5 million series A round led by IAC.
The Third Degree
A new report released Monday by eMarketer showed that the average adult consumer spends 65 minutes of their day on a mobile device versus only 44 minutes a day with print media (26 minutes of that with newspapers and just 18 minutes with magazines). This marks the first time since 2008, when the research firm started collecting data, that adults have turned over more of their day to mobile devices than print.
As PC World points out, however, that data doesn’t specify how many of those mobile minutes are spent reading the online version of articles that appear in print.
About a week ago, a GigaOm writer Janko Roettgers stumbled across something big: an integration that would allow anyone who owns a Boxee Box to watch live broadcast TV over the device without having to switch back-and-forth between inputs.
Now, Boxee is finally prepared to speak about the feature. In January, the company will start selling a USB dongle that transforms the antenna on the Boxee Box into a tuner to capture free over-the-air HD TV signals from channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. The dongle is a one-time cost of $49 and the company is currently taking pre-orders.
So that’s a little more expensive than your typical digital converter box, which also lets you get free live broadcast TV. But you get some special social juice with Boxee, plus everything in one unit with one remote control.
Betabeat spoke to Boxee founder and CEO Avner Ronen yesterday about why he thinks this could be a tipping point in getting consumers to cut–or at least shave–the cord.