Aereo Has Revolutionized Television

Screen shot 2014-05-13 at 8.58.03 AMThe ratings are in. Americans love TV–and they hate their cable providers with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. Gripes ranging from annual price hikes to technical snafus to restrictive bundled packages continue to relegate cable companies to the cellar of consumer experience surveys: In a study by research firm Temkin Group that ranks the customer service of 235 companies in 19 industries, TV service providers occupy six of the seven bottom spots.

Chet Kanojia feels subscribers’ pain. “Media consumption is changing and evolving, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of technological progress and innovation around the cable customer experience and around billing,” he says. “Consumers feel like they’re still stuck in an era where they’re not being heard.”

Aereo, the startup Kanojia launched in 2012 in New York City, turns the conventional broadcast model on its head by enabling consumers to stream live and time-shifted TV programs to internet-connected devices–no boxes, cable subscriptions or complex wires required. The firm assigns each user a dime-size remote antenna and cloud-based digital video recorder, billing $8 per month for 20 hours of DVR space. For an additional $4 per month, Aereo customers can upgrade to 60 hours of space and the flexibility of recording two shows at once.

“Our ambition as a company is offering a better way for people to consume television and media,” says the soft-spoken Kanojia, Aereo’s CEO. “We’re getting a lot of positive reaction because we’re enabling an alternative. There is a vacuum in the marketplace that the incumbents aren’t coming in to serve.”

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