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Bloomberg: If Aereo wins in court, cable companies might buy it or build clones

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
October 25, 2013
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While TV broadcasters like CBS and Fox continue their legal battle against Aereo and its leased microantenna-to-internet streaming scheme, Bloomberg reports cable companies are watching more closely than ever. Since they're currently paying retrans fees for a lot of the same content networks broadcast over the air (and that Aereo is catching, then streaming to its subscribers on various devices -- web browser, Roku, Apple TV via AirPlay, iOS and most recently Android) if Aereo wins, they might see it as a way out of deals said to be worth billions of dollars over the years. Specifically, the usual unnamed sources name Time Warner Cable, Charter and DirecTV as candidates to build their own versions of the technology, with TWC mentioned as considering a purchase of the company.

One thing that could complicate any potential end run however, is the fact that said broadcasters also own a number of cable channels. CBS has Showtime (as seen during its showdown with Time Warner Cable earlier this year), Fox has Fox Sports, FX, FXX and more, ABC brings ESPN and Disney to the table and Comcast-owned NBC attaches USA, Syfy and a few others to its umbrella. Time Warner Cable namechecked Aereo during its dispute with CBS, while Fox's CEO threatened to make the channel pay-TV only if it can't get the service shut down. For now though, the lawsuits still fly back and forth and Aereo's footprint continues to expand, if this ever means your cable bill might shrink a bit then we'll let you know.

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