MADISON (WKOW) -- For as little as $8 per month viewers may soon be able to watch local TV stations through an internet service called Aereo.
Operating only in New York right now, the company is expanding to 22 more cities including Madison this spring.
"Madison is a little more of a younger, more socially active community, so a product like this would tie into people whose lives are on the go all the time," said Steve Noll, Professor of Marketing and Social Media at Madison College.
People could watch the station's programming on their computer or mobile device, either live or recorded on a remote DVR.
"When you can control what you want to record, set up your preferences and have your own locker, if you will, that you can download or access anytime on any device...it makes it simple, makes it easy," said Chet Kanojia, Aereo CEO.
How does it work? Aereo will set up thousands of tiny antenna's the size of a dime somewhere in Madison and then "rent" each antenna.
Kanojia says that makes it perfectly legal, because they're not retransmitting a station's signal, they're merely renting out the equipment so people to watch the stations.
"The court in New York did uphold it and said at the trial-court level said that this was well within the bounds of the law," said Kanojia.
But that was just one lawsuit, filed by New York television stations and some broadcast networks. Other legal challenges from stations in the new markets are likely.
"There is still a question of ownership and who owns that content and can companies like that just take that content and sort of repackage it and then charge people for it," said Noll.
That's a question a number of local station executives will likely soon be asking.
Our sister station, WKOW 27 News did ask the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association for a response to Aereo's plans for Madison, but the WBA's Executive Director declined comment, saying they needed to first research the company and its practices.
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