People lucky enough to have Aereo might say the service couldn’t get much better. But it’s about to, as Aereo announced Thursday that it’s adding Chromecast support to its Android app starting May 29.
Aereo, if you’re unfamiliar, is a cloud-based antenna and DVR technology. Users lease a tiny antenna from Aereo, which lets them access live over-the-air TV and record shows to Aereo’s cloud-based DVR. That live and recorded content is then streamed to the users’ Internet-connected devices, including computers and iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Getting those streams to your TV is then your problem. You can send Aereo streams from Mobile Safari on an iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV over AirPlay, or use Aereo’s private Roku channel. Or you could return to caveman days and connect your computer or mobile device to your TV with an unsightly cord.
Chromecast support will let Aereo users cast their live and recorded shows to a Chromecast-equipped TV, using an updated version of the Aereo app for Android. The $35 Chromecast streaming HDMI stick is the lowest-priced option for wirelessly streaming Aereo content to a TV, which should make it attractive to Aereo’s customers, who pay only $8 a month for access to the company's cloud-based antenna and 20 hours of DVR storage.
Aereo currently serves 11 U.S. cities, with plans to expand to others this year. But the company is also fighting lawsuits from broadcasters who argue the service should count as a public performance of their content, which would violate copyright law. Aereo counters that because each user leases a separate antenna, each stream is really a private performance. Most courts have so far sided with Aereo—but not all. Aereo recently had to suspend service in Denver and Salt Lake City after a court order from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Superme Court has agreed to hear one case against Aereo, with arguments scheduled for April 22.