TV disruptor: Watch live TV online, no cable

Americans don't like cable companies and a new TV startup wants to take advantage.

Last year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, five of the 15 most disliked companies in America were cable companies. When there's that much dissatisfaction with television services, other companies try to make it better. Sites like Hulu and Netflixs offer streaming of TV shows, but none legally offer live streaming of broadcast channels on the Internet, until one startup came along.

Aereo offers services that allow you to watch broadcast channels -- so no HBO or ESPN -- and one cable channel (Bloomberg television) live and offers space to record shows to watch later. The best part for dissatisfied cable consumers is that you don't need a cable subscription (the service isn't free though) or television, just an Internet connection and a computer, iPad, or iPhone. But while the hope is to make customers happier, the same can't be said for cable companies, The Economist reports:

Television companies loathe Aereo. It does not pay networks for the free-to-air channels it streams. It allows people to receive content without paying for the bundles of channels from which cable firms derive their profits. Broadcasters have sued Aereo for copyright infringement and filed a request to shut down the service (this was denied on appeal on April 1st).

The service plans to expand to 22 cities throughout the United States later this year and buy cable stations that can be viewed live. Currently the service is only offered in New York City, so the expansion would be a big one and maybe a sign that the company believes the courts will continue to agree that their service is legal.

Photo: Flickr/John "I'm...kind" L

Aereo, a small start-up, has infuriated television executives [The Economist]

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