Barry Diller’s Aereo, Inc. is planning to launch in the Chicago area in early September, the company said Thursday.
The service, which uses remote antennae to stream local TV broadcasts online, announced plans at the CE Week conference in New York on Wednesday to swoop into as many as 22 cities across the U.S. by the end of the year. The Chicago branch will go live on Sept. 3.
Aereo will expand to 16 counties across Illinois and Indiana. Subscribers to the $8-per-month service will be able to record and watch from ABC’s WLS-TV, FOX’s WFLD-TV, NBC’s WMAQ-TV, CBS’s WBBM-TV and PBS’s WYCC, along with a few foreign and special-interest channels and Bloomberg TV.
“There’s no place like Chicago, and we’re excited to be launching in this world-class city in September,” CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said in a statement. “Consumers want more choice and flexibility when it comes to how they watch television, and the enthusiastic response to our technology from people across the country has been humbling.”
The New York-based startup, owned by Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq:IACI), launched in the Atlanta and Boston metropolitan areas last month, expanding its access to more than 5.3 million more consumers.
The move is likely to provoke new legal sparring with the major television networks, which have repeatedly sued the company, claiming the streaming technology, which captures and transmits over-the-air signals, violates their copyrights. The companies argued that Aereo owes them re-transmission fees, and broadcasting their shows to computers and mobile devices constitutes a “live performance,” which is subject to licensing fees.
Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA), CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS), the Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) have repeatedly sued the company to no avail. And in May, Aereo sued CBS to prevent the network from seeking further legal action, claiming it was a waste of court resources.