The upstart live-TV streaming service Aereo is said to be in partnership talks with AT&T and Dish Network, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Aereo’s antenna/DVR technology allows consumers to watch live, local over-the-air broadcast television on certain Internet-connected devices for a fee. If it partners with television and Internet providers it could greatly increase its reach.
This news is likely to be much to the chagrin for several major broadcasters, which are suing the company for copyright violation. ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, NBC Universal, and Telemundo, all alleged in a lawsuit filed last year that the service violates their copyrights since it retransmits programming without their permission.
Aereo survived an effort by the broadcasters to get a preliminary injunction that would have halted its operations, but in a hearing in late November, a panel of appellate judges expressed skepticism about some of its key arguments. In December, Aereo got a vote of confidence, however, through a reported deal with Bloomberg TV to stream its news reports.
The company announced in January that it was bringing live streaming to 22 U.S. citiesthis year, including Miami, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City. And, in February, it expanded its New York City service so that it now covers 29 counties in New York State and serves 19 million people.
People familiar with the talks between Aereo and AT&T told the Wall Street Journal that a possible partnership would pair the upstart’s video service with broadband or wireless data subscriptions. The talks with Dish were reportedly about bringing lower priced TV packages to younger viewers via the Internet.
According to the Wall Street Journal, no agreements have yet been made. When contacted by CNET, Aereo declined to comment.