The NFL And MLB Threaten A Move To Cable Thanks To Video Streaming Startup Aereo

Eli manningPeter Aiken/Getty ImagesNFL player Eli Manning.

The NFL and MLB are threatening to move over to cable if fledgling Internet TV startup Aereo continues its expansion.

According to Variety, both leagues filed a joint suit over the weekend urging the Supreme Court to look over a separate suit that major TV broadcasters have filed earlier this month.

Essentially, the organisations argue that Aereo’s antennas which provide streams of local channels directly to tablets and smartphones is illegal. This prevents the networks and these leagues from obtaining retransmission fees ultimately violating copyright laws.

For those of you unfamiliar with how Aereo works: it’s a service that lets you stream live network TV from stations like NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You also have the option to record shows in a virtual DVR and beam the video back to your device over the Internet later.

Aereo has a separate antenna for each user, which the company claims makes the service legal and allows it to retransmit the TV signal over the Internet. Aereo costs $US8 per month to use.

The leagues get about $US100 million of the $US300 million broadcasters get when they structure deals for each season. Since cable channels require carrier fees to be paid and operate on a subscription basis, a jump to cable would ensure the MLB and NFL continue their lucrative deals.

Aereo argues its service isn’t against the law, but broadcasters obviously disagree. The company considers its transmissions to be legal and private but they need to file a reply brief before December 12.

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