Next month Boston will become the second major city to have Aereo as the live TV streaming service expands to the area on May 15.
On May 15 anyone in the Boston market area who pre-registered their interest in Aereo will receive a special invitation to sign up for the service. Aereo will open the service to everyone in the area just over two weeks later on May 30.
By the end of May Aereo will be available to more than 4.5 million people in the Boston designated market area (DMA). The Boston DMA includes 16 counties around Boston in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. In Massachusetts the counties include Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester.
In New Hampshire Belknap, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford counties will have access to the service. In Vermont only those in Windham county will have access to the service.
Aereo will let users in those areas stream network TV to their iPads, iPhones, Roku boxes, Macs or PCs. The service starts at just $1 per day and monthly plans start at $8. Users won’t get access to cable channels, but they will get network stations like NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS, which are good for live sporting events any many popular TV shows.
The expansion into the Boston DMA is the first step in Aereo’s plan to expand to 22 new cities by the end of 2013. The service is slow to roll out because the company needs to find places to put its thousands of dime-sized antennas in each market before it can launch.
While the company continues its plan to expand to more cities, it is in the middle of lawsuits that claim the service is illegally re-broadcasting network TV. Aereo argues that it isn’t illegal because it’s service essentially just rents individual antennas to users and sends the stream to one device over the Internet. A U.S. court ruled the service can continue running, though that doesn’t mean the legal battles are over.