Media

A new (legal) Aereo? FilmOn launches in 18 cities

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The idea that virtually no live and local TV is available on the web suggests a sector that’s ripe for disruption.

Aereo was to be that disruptor, but the Supreme Court cut it down in its prime last week.

Now, another company with novel streaming technology hopes to step in to fill the void: FilmOn

FilmOn is an online TV and movie service, but the company has now announced that it’s going to be a virtual cable company that also offers live and local TV over the Web.

The company says it will (legally) deliver a paid TV package in 18 cities that includes programming from broadcast channels like ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. The service will stream to phones and tablets, too.

The service is the creation of Nigeria-born Greek billionaire Alki David, who has challenged broadcasters in court numerous times to win the right to license and stream broadcast TV.

FilmOn’s alleged secret is something it calls “Teleporter.” FilmOn claims that Teleporter enables a person in one city to watch programming broadcast in another city via a “splitscreen” or a “mini-computer” attached to a thousand-mile long cord.

Wait. What?!? This technology probably exists in word only — words chosen to fit neatly through a legal loophole.

Where Aereo just captured and streamed the content of TV programmers, David is offering to pay for the content. He has done this numerous times before, but broadcasters have always turned him down.

But when the Supreme Court effectively shut down Aereo last week, it gave the opinion that steaming services like Aereo should be treated like cable companies. So David now says his company is a cable company, and he believes the court’s language also means that TV broadcasters are now obliged to sell their programming to FilmOn for a fair loyalty rate.

Some legal observers are already saying David is just headed for another court appearance versus the broadcasters, where he will lose.

Actually, it’s not quite clear if David is an entrepreneur or an activist — or just a rich wacko.

Via: Gigaom