Damn the Lawsuits — It’s Full Speed Ahead for Aereo In New York
NEW YORK — Aereo, the startup which aims to rock the TV world by renting you a remote high definition antenna that allows you to watch and record broadcasts via a web browser, launched Wednesday despite lawsuits which allege that the company is violating the copyrights of broadcasters who own the programming.
Two lawsuits have been filed against Aereo (and it has filed a counterclaim of its own) but there is no court injunction preventing the launch, so here we go. In what is perhaps a little tweak at the broadcasters who are trying to shut Aereo down — or just good business of the “first taste is free” variety — Aereo takes to the airwaves with a 90-day free trial, up from the 30 days initially planned. After that 90 days, it’ll cost New Yorkers $12 a month to get the roughly 20 channels broadcasting in this market in HD.
That is, assuming Aereo is still around in 90 days.
The suits against the start-up, whose backers include broadcast veteran Barry Diller, allege that Aereo is blatantly violating the copyrights of broadcasters who air shows that are otherwise available generally only via cable and satellite middlemen, or if you have your own HD antenna attached to a TV set. Aereo contends it has the legal right to provide this service because its potential customers a) have the right to these broadcasts, made available as they are on publicly-owned airwaves and b) have the right to put an antenna anywhere they want to pull in these signals for our own, personal, non-commercial use.
Aereo essentially says it is merely enabling legal private behavior, and charging for that convenience.
Copyright is a justifiably powerful tool which often trumps all — and I am no lawyer — but I’ve already made clear that I find Aereo’s theory compelling. That said, I’m fantastically interested in how the arguments on both sides will be made. Either way this case will change things: Someone is going to do what Aereo is doing, even if it’s only the broadcasters who didn’t bother to, first.
First, I AM NOT a fanboy. My phone is an Android. Even when the iPhone was introduced, I steadfastly held onto my WindowsMobile phone, waiting for Palm to introduce something better. I have a Windows7 PC, laptop, AND netbook. When the iPad was first released, I thought it was gorgeous, but lacking. And, it was. Apple introduced an improved model a few months later, and a thinner, even more improved model less than a year later. Admittedly, I bought that one. And I love it. But I owned two Windows tablets well before the iPad was even a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye. So I was predisposed, even before Jobs said it was the Next Big Thing.
Today at E3 in Los Angeles Nintendo showed the world the Wii U. Which looks and sounds like the birth-child of an Apple iPad and a LeapFrog LeapPad. (Yes, we own a LeapPad.) This, on the heels of Apple's WWDC where they emphasized major changes to Game Center that make it more XBox Live than Yahoo Games. At the same time, quietly and without any significant emphasis, Apple announced AirPlay Mirroring. Which, at first blush, sounds like someone accidentally left a slide in the Keynote deck from last year's WWDC. But, in reality, mated to a $99 Apple TV 2, it turns the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch into an accelerometer-equipped wireless TV gaming console (minus the console).
But, I'm not buying each of my kids a $499 iPad, when I already spent $249 on the Wii 4 years ago. And then I spent $179 each for two DSi's a couple years later. Plus, each one of the Wii game disks cost me between $30-$50, and then each one of my kids' DSi cartridges cost me another $20-30. And, if they want to play each other, I have to buy two of the same game! Worse yet, once they've conquered a particular game, it's useless.
Do the math. If I'm lucky, I'm only into it for a grand, or so. Now Apple's going to try to get in on the game? Apple has been focusing more recently on price, but their products are not what I'd call the "budget option."
Even if I just bought each of the kids the cheapest iPod Touch, that would still be $210 a piece. Plus every game is going to be another $0.99 to $5.99. And then there's the Apple TV 2 for another $99. That would be close to $500, just to replace what they already have.
On the other hand, that is half what I spent on Nintendo products. And it means that every game they purchased could be played on or off the TV. Going forward, they could purchase anywhere from as little as 3 to as many as 40 times the number of games for the same money as a single cartridge or disk. Of course, the AppStore only has a little over 60,000 to choose from, compared to around 2000 total Wii and DSi titles. And, there's another 35,000 or so iOS educational apps. Each of which could never be lost or damaged -- even if the whole device was lost or damaged. And, by purchasing the apps from the same account, everyone in the house can play the same game, at the same time, together or apart, for just one single purchase. It doesn't hurt either that the iTouch does more than play games. My son, for instance, could use the calendar for scheduling. And both my kids would love to have an MP3 player. Which, again, would allow them to share music under the same account. There are dictionary and thesaurus, flash cards, SAT prep, and other good apps. Plus, the Apple TV 2 also has a few tricks, other than being a slave to iPad, iTouch, and iPhone. It's certainly a competent media player and Netflix tuner (even before jailbreaking).
Until yesterday, I might have been worried that they'd fight over a computer to sync. But, come Fall, not only will that be unnecessary, but -- with the addition of a Bluetooth keyboard and the Apple TV -- each practically becomes its OWN computer, portable and home video and MP3 player (also capable of wirelessly streaming from my iTunes library), handheld game machine, gaming console, PDA, and videoconferencing device. To do it up right: $210 iTouch, $99 ATV, add a nice screen for less than $200, and a $69 Bluetooth keyboard. Effectively, the same price as purchasing each of them a desktop computer, but one that fits in their pockets. Even the Apple TV 2 is pocket-sized.
Fine! I take back what I said about the "budget option."
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Verizon’s iPhone Commercials Are So Snarky, You’d Think They’ve Been Stuck on AT&T For the Last 4 Years
Once again, Verizon isn't pulling any punches. I caught this commercial during the SuperBowl. Though there are actual differences between the iPhones sold on At&T and Verizon networks -- some favoring Verizon, and at least one, that I know of, favoring AT&T -- Verizon has chosen to make it all about The Network.
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It's rare that I clap for [watch] TV commercials. But Verizon just took AT&T to the mat -- er, map.
Technically, this is off-topic, but I think I can apply a little broad discretion when it comes to bad data -- That is, the data that every U.S. cell phone company uses to claim to be the best.
I know I spend a lot of time picking on Apple -- especially the the iPhone. But when something falls just short of great, it leaves room for criticism. That, however, doesn't describe Apple's choice of service partner. Verizon customers love their coverage. T-Mobile customers love their customer service. Sprint customers love their features (and free 3G roaming to Verizon). AT&T customers love their iPhones, and tolerate their service. Now Verizon is taking them to the map.
Watch and see what I mean.
One body. One suspect. Two theories. A laptop. A birdcage. A bloody crime scene. Two trials. Two hung juries. No convictions. One unsolved mystery.
From Investigation Discovery:
"When a beloved music professor -- David Stagg -- discovers the dead body of his long-time partner, Bill Jennings, he claims he's walked into the aftermath of a tragic suicide. But as investigators descend on the scene, they immediately realize that this reported suicide is clearly a homicide. Is it possible the professor is behind this vicious crime, or has he been falsely accused? The forensic experts on each side battle it out. Which side will you agree with?" (60 min. - First aired 9/14/2009 on Investigation Discovery / Discovery ID's "Forensics: You Decide)
Friends from the couple's active social group were in total disbelief. Few could imagine David Stagg involved in the murder of his long-time partner. Forensic evidence was inconclusive. Though blood evidence was found throughout the crime scene, no blood or defensive wounds could be found on David Stagg. An unknown set of fingerprints were found at the scene. Computer evidence from Jennings' laptop showed--at least from Jennings' perspective--a tumultuous relationship. But, enough to justify a motive for murder?
There were also a series of suicidal emails and typed letters left by Jennings that charted a history of both love for Stagg, and deep emotional turmoil. And, one final letter--typed on April 24, 2004, the night of the murder--would become one of the most contested pieces of evidence that two juries would have to consider.
On one thing, both sides agreed: Bill Jennings did not take his own life. ... CONTINUE READING »
How German filmmakers hijacked part of California, stole its identity, and used it to scam an entire country.
I think I've finally figured out the origin of the expression, "If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you": Bluewater, California.
The "bridge" to which I refer crosses the Colorado River, and connects Bluewater, California with its sister-city, Bluewater, Arizona. According to the city's web site, downtown Bluewater offers a range of bars and restaurants where you can dine on seafood fished from local waters, get locally-grown produce from the Farmer's Market every Wednesday and Saturday, and enjoy summer poetry in the park.
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Israeli scientists are declaring war on DNA evidence. According to a paper published today in the journal, Forensic Science International: Genetics, scientists in Tel Aviv have have demonstrated that it is in fact possible to fabricate DNA evidence, opening up an entirely new avenue of reasonable doubt.
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OK, I'll admit it: I'm a reality TV junkie--including, but not limited to, CBS's Big Brother. (Go ahead, laugh, tease, ridicule. I can handle it.) And, now I come to find Big Brother is a fan of me!
Almost any night of the week, America tunes in to see good looking people who gave up their mundane lives and mediocre livelihoods for a chance have complete strangers watch their every move. If this has always been a dream of yours, I have great news:
Now, you can have complete strangers watch your every move! You don't have to be good looking, and you don't even have to give up your mundane life or mediocre livelihood.
What's the secret? It's called PrimeSense. PrimeSense is a revolutionary set-top box (STB) which, according to the company's web site, "allows a computer to perceive the world in 3D and derive an understanding of the world based on sight, just the way humans do. The device includes a sensor, which sees a user (including their complete surroundings), and a digital component, or 'brain' which learns and understands user movement within those surroundings."
According to CableFAX, a cable industry publication, a "chip resides in a camera on the STB that provides something similar to thermal images, showing how many people are in front of the TV, etc."
PrimeSense was voted Best New Product Idea at CableLabs' Innovation Showcase in Denver, CO. CableLabs (Cable Television Laboratories, Inc.) is a non-profit research and development consortium founded in 1988 by cable operating companies. Votes were cast through informal polling of cable industry executives. Which is good news, if you were hoping to have complete strangers watching your every move. Because, it could be coming to a cable set-top box near you.