EXCLUSIVE: CapeCodToday readers talk to Aereo about broadcast television over the Internet for $8 a month

The revolutionary new service includes broadcast channels available in our market area and a “virtual DVR” service to compliment the TV content

Exclusive: Cape Cod Today Readers Interview Aereo TV

Aereo spokesperson opens up to CapeCodToday.com’s readers

With interest running high in the new Aereo TV service among CapeCodToday.com’s audience, we asked some of our readers to submit questions for a second virtual interview with Aereo Vice-President Virginia Lam.

Aereo is a service that delivers broadcast television over the Internet. For $8 a month users receive access to their very own digital antenna with the signal delivered over their broadband connection. The service includes broadcast channels available in our market area and a “virtual DVR” service to compliment the TV content. Aereo operates a “farm” of antennae in the Boston area – one or two for each subscribe – serving a digital stream to each antenna’s subscriber.

As with all CapeCodToday.com virtual interviews, the questions are listed here in the same order that they were presented to Ms. Lam. Her answers are published exactly as she submitted them, without any editing or re-positioning. The ability to share this level of detail is one of the advantages of coverage on a news site like ours. We have no constraints on time or space. Our interview guests tell their story in their own words.

Readers’ Virtual Interview with Aereo’s Virginia Lam

 R eader Question:  What advantage does your service have over a consumer installing their own digital antenna?

Ms. Lam: Aereo’s technology makes having and using an antenna and DVR simple for the consumer. Instead of having to install an antenna on the roof of a home, and then worry about connecting it to a DVR, dongle or Slingbox, Aereo provides consumers with access to their own antenna and DVR in the cloud. With Aereo’s technology, a member can begin to record and watch television over the Internet immediately, without the hassle of installing clunky equipment.

Reader Question: I am holding off signing up for Aereo until it is available for Android devices. When will the Android apps be released?

Ms. Lam: The good news is Android compatibility is coming soon! We expect to make an announcement about Android support in the late summer.

Reader Question: I have a Windows RT tablet. When will Aereo have an app for that device?

Ms. Lam: At the moment, we don’t have any immediate plans for Windows RT tablet compatibility.

Reader Question: I am only a resident on the Cape for half the year and the billing address for my credit cards is outside of the Boston Aereo viewing area. The Aereo website states that the billing address of the credit card used to pay for the Aereo Service must be within the Boston/Cape service area. Is there any way around this problem, since I would like to subscribe to Aereo for my Cape Cod residence?

Ms. Lam: Unfortunately, the only way you can become an Aereo member in the Boston area is to have a credit card billing address in that market.

Reader Question: When will Aereo be available for the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub media server device?

Ms. Lam: I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with this device, but our engineers are working hard to add more device compatibility. For a full list of our compatible devices, please visit: https://aereo.com/devices. Stay tuned for more announcements!

Reader Question: When will Aereo be available for Netgear’s NeoTV devices?

Ms. Lam: I’m sorry, I’m also not familiar with this device, but our engineers are working hard to add more device compatibility. For a full list of our compatible devices, please visit: https://aereo.com/devices. Stay tuned for more announcements!

Reader Question: When will Aereo be available for Google TV?

Ms. Lam: We are currently working on Android support and our engineers are working hard to add more device compatibility. For a full list of our compatible devices, please visit: https://aereo.com/devices. Stay tuned for more announcements!

Reader Question: Does Aereo eventually plan to offer “premium” channels at an extra charge? Channels I’d like to see are AMC, History, A&E and TNT. Will Aereo ever offer top shelf channels like HBO for a higher monthly subscription charge?

Ms. Lam: Aereo does not offer channels but rather access to over the air content via a remote antenna and DVR. Bloomberg TV is also currently available to consumers using the Aereo technology. There are no present plans to add to what is available using the Aereo technology. Right now, we’re focused on our nationwide expansion plans. Aereo is currently available to consumers in the New York City, Boston and Atlanta metropolitan areas and we plan to expand to 20 more markets by the end of the year. For a company of our size, it’s a big task ahead of us.

As Aereo grows, we’re looking at a number of different ways where our technology can add value to consumers. The future is bright for Aereo and we hope you continue to follow us for updates on where we go next.

Reader Question: Is it possible to download a movie I recorded with the Aereo DVR and save in on my hard drive?

Ms. Lam: No, Aereo does not provide functionality for consumers to download programs from their cloud DVR onto their hard drive.

Reader Question: What is the optimum network speed for viewing Aereo in the highest possible video quality?

Ms. Lam: Consumers who have Internet connection speeds above 2.4mbps should be able to use Aereo’s technology set in the “High mode.” However, each Internet service provider’s connection speed varies, depending on your carrier, your location and your Internet plan.

We recommend using our “Check Speed” function in the “Settings” tab to check your Internet connection speed. This will help you determine which video setting is optimal for your Internet connection speed. Another option is to set your video quality to “Auto,” which will automatically toggle your video quality according to your Internet connection speed. If you are experience video issues beyond this, please contact our Customer Care team at [email protected] or via Twitter @AereoSupport.

Reader Question: What is the bandwidth difference between watching a program in low and high video quality?

Ms. Lam: The “Low” setting requires approximately 550kbps to stream video. This is well suited for 3G networks. The “Medium” setting requires about 1.4Mbps. The “High” setting requires 2.4Mbps and is best used only with high-speed broadband access.

Reader Question: I have a Wireless G network and a Roku box at home. Am I better off to run Aereo in “auto” video quality on that setup? Do I need Wireless N and a Roku that supports dual band wireless to get consistently good video quality?

Ms. Lam: If you are using a Roku, we recommend that you check your Internet connection speed prior to setting the video quality. You can check your Internet connection speed at speedtest.net.

If you have bandwidth above 2mbps, we recommend you set your video quality to “High” when using your Roku device. Anything below 2mbps, we recommend the “Medium” or “Low” setting.

If you have additional questions or need additional assistance, please feel free to contact our Customer Care team at [email protected] or via Twitter @AereoSupport.

Reader Question: Will Aereo work on a DSL connection?

Ms. Lam: Yes, Aereo’s technology will work with a DSL connection as long as your Internet connection speed is above 550kbps. Speeds at or above 2.4mbps will support high-quality, HD video.

If you need additional assistance, please contact our Customer Care team at [email protected] or via Twitter @AereoSupport.

Reader Question: I’m not very tech savvy. I have a 10 MBPS Internet connection and a Wireless G network in the house. What do I need to buy to stream Aereo to my television?

Ms. Lam: To utilize the Aereo technology with your big screen television at home, consumers have two options: a) Aereo is currently supported on Roku. Directions to link your Roku device are here. b) Aereo’s technology is also compatible with AppleTV using Airplay through another Apple device such as an iPhone, iPad, iTouch or MacBook.

If you have additional questions or need additional assistance with setting up your account, please feel free to contact our Customer Care team at [email protected] or via Twitter @AereoSupport. They are happy to help!

Reader Question: Will Aereo ever sell local advertising on its service?

Ms. Lam: No, we have no plans to sell advertising in connection with the Aereo technology.

Reader Question: I have three televisions and may want to watch all three at once. Can I do this with the $12/month plan or do I need to get a second, stand-alone Aereo plan?

Ms. Lam: This is a good question and the answer is, it depends. Every family and every consumer is different in terms of how they use Aereo’s technology.

As you may know, Aereo allows consumers to authorize up to five devices at any time. With the $12/month plan, the consumer is assigned two antennas, which means you can record and watch two live programs simultaneously on different devices. Or, you can record and save one program for later, while recording and watching another program live. The $8/month plan only provides the consumer with access to one antenna, so you can record and watch a program live while also watching something saved on your DVR. However, with that $8 dollar plan a consumer could not record and watch something live and record another program at the same time.

Whether you want to create a second account just depends on how much and how often you and your family plan to watch television.

If you have additional questions or want to talk this through further, please feel free to contact our Customer Care team at [email protected] or via Twitter @AereoSupport.

Reader Question: When will Aereo have a workaround for the problem with Roku not working with Comcast Business IP addresses?

Ms. Lam: Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t have a solution for this issue, but it is something our team is monitoring.

Reader Question: Can Aereo be streamed to TV sets in a restaurant or bar for public viewing?

Ms. Lam: No. Only individual consumers may use Aereo’s technology.

Reader Question: What kind of parental controls does Aereo have? Can I have a different login for my kids than for myself – or would I need a whole separate account for the kids?

Ms. Lam: In order to use Aereo’s technology, a user must validate a log-in and password. Aereo’s user interface also allows for customization so you can remove access to guide information for channels you don’t want your children to watch. At this time, those are the main parental controls currently in place.

Reader Question: When I use the Aereo “guide” I find it cumbersome to scroll to the schedule for a week into the future. Could Aereo add a “zoom to date” function or a traditional pop-up calendar so I can navigate the guide more quickly?

Ms. Lam: Thanks for the suggestion! We will forward this suggestion on to our team.

Just a reminder, our search function also allows a consumer search for particular programs or programs on specific dates or times of day. Click on the search function for more information on how to search the guide. You might find this more helpful!

Reader Question: How many Aereo accounts can be linked to one email address? I own several summer rental properties and would like to switch them to Aereo and drop Comcast TV.

Ms. Lam: One. For each of your homes, you would need to sign up for a separate Aereo account.

Reader Question: How does Aereo interface with social networks? Can I send a clickable link to a program I like via Facebook to another Aereo member?

Ms. Lam: At this time, Aereo allows consumers to log-in via FaceBook or Twitter. You can certainly share updates and posts with your friends and followers, but you cannot share the programs that you select and record using the Aereo technology.

Reader Question: I am an Aereo member and love the service! Do you plan to offer any kind of “refer a friend” incentive like NetFlix does?

Ms. Lam: That’s wonderful! We’re thrilled you love our technology.

Yes, we have a referral program! If you click on our “Social” tab, you’ll see a button that says “Invite a Friend.” Here, you can invite friends to join Aereo. Aereo consumers can earn a free month for every friend who signs up, with a maximum of three months free. Friends who sign up must be Aereo members for 60 days before you begin to earn your free months. Thanks for the support!!

Conclusions

The Boston/Cape Cod market was Aereo’s first expansion outside the New York metro market. They recently opened the market surrounding Atlanta, Georgia. Readers who use the service say that it is updated frequently, including a new programming guide that was released early last month.

In recent CapeCodToday.com poll, 16% of our readers indicated they are using some form of TV-over-Internet system – either purely web-based services like Netflix, Aereo and Hulu or what we call a “hybrid” of basic cable and TV-over-Internet. We were also surprised to see that six percent of participants have an over-the-air TV antenna.

The Cape presents a terrific marketing opportunity both for web-based services like Aereo and sophisticated premium services like Comcast’s X1 and upcoming X2 service.

Anecdotally, it seems that web-based television content is especially attractive to the so-called “millennial generation”. The “watch on any device, any time” concept appeals to the “millennial” need for instant access to their content. They are, after all, a generation that grew up with the iPod.

Aereo raises the bar for consumers who want their TV content delivered over the web. It is an important part of the programming suite for any who desire to “cut the cord” and most especially for the “cord nevers” that have never subscribe to cable.

We thank our readers for submitting some very astute and interesting questions. As always, we give a bow to Ms. Virginia Lam of Aereo for her honest, upbeat responses.

Are You A Millennial?

We would like to hear from CapeCodToday.com’s 20-30 year old readers who would like to be interviewed on how they obtain their video content. Look for a call for participants soon or email [email protected] to be added to our interview list.


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