Aereo has unveiled a new “streamlined” pricing plan for new customers that eliminates the company’s previous annual and day plans, and enters the picture as Aereo gets set to launch services in Boston on May 15.
Under the new plan, pricing starts at $8 per month for access to the company’s antenna array plus 20 hours of cloud DVR storage. Customers can upgrade to 60 hours of DVR storage for another $4 per month. As a carrot, new customers also get their first month for free, and they can cancel at any time, the company said.
Aereo's old plan included a daily $1 subscription teamed with three hours of DVR storage; 40 hours of DVR storage for $12 per month; and $80 per year for 40 hour of storage. An Aereo spokesman confirmed that company's free sampling option, which provided access to the service for a continuous one-hour period every day (no DVR), also won't carry over to the revised pricing structure.
The new pricing structure takes effect Wednesday, May 15, when Aereo will debut in Boston, and mark its first service launch outside of New York City.
Current Aereo subscribers that are paying $12 per month will automatically be upgraded to 60 hours of DVR storage.
“We looked at our data and it was clear, consumers want a more simple approach to pricing,” said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia, in a statement. “With our new pricing structure, consumers begin with one base plan and then have the ability to upgrade their membership to triple their DVR storage capacity. We want to make it simple and easy for consumers to access our technology and we believe this updated pricing plan accomplishes just that.”
Aereo declined to say how many subscribers it currently has in NYC. Its service currently works on iOS devices, the Apple TV (via airplay), Roku boxes and on the Chrome, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Safari, and Opera browsers.
Boston is the first of several markets set for an Aereo expansion this year that will reach a potential total of 97 million Americans. Other cities targeted for expansion include: Minneapolis; Madison, Wis.; Cleveland; Providence, R.I.; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa.; Chicago; Salt Lake City; Denver; Kansas City; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Atlanta; Austin, Houston and Dallas, Texas; Tampa and Miami, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Detroit.
Broadcasters are currently fighting a legal battle against the service, which delivers TV station signals over the Internet without payment. Aereo claims it is not violating copyright laws because it is simply providing remote access to the free over-the-air signals its subs are entitled to. Some broadcasters, Fox notably, have threatened to go to a cable-only delivery model if Aereo wins in court.
Fox and other broadcasters are seeking en banc (full court) re-hearing by the Second Circuit federal appeals court of the decision by a three-judge panel of that court not to prevent Aereo from streaming TV stations signals while a district court weighs the broadcasters’ challenge to that service.
Earlier this month, Aereo filed a complaint against CBS to head off threatened suits in markets where it plans to expand.