Aereo, a quirky cut-cord television service, announced $20.5 million in Series A financing led by IAC, with participation from existing investors FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, High Line Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners and select individuals. This brings total funding for Aereo, formerly Bamboom Labs, to approximately $25 million.
Barry Diller, IAC chairman & senior executive, has joined Aereo’s board of directors.
Aereo will begin serving customers on March 14. Initially limited to residents of New York City, the service costs $12 per month and delivers television from free over-the-air major networks and local channels to any web-enabled tablet, smartphone, over-the-top box (like Roku, Apple TV and Boxee) or other device. No cable stations or premium streaming services are included, although the company has hinted that Netflix or similar may be in a future iteration. Viewers can watch either live or from up to 40 hours of programming in Aereo’s cloud-based “virtual DVR.”
Here’s the quirky part. Aereo is based on thousands of tiny antennas – about the size of a dime – clustered in data centers around the city. Members connect with them wirelessly through a friendly interface that provides scheduling and search functions, social network integration and navigation across devices.
Because Aereo gives each member an individual antenna and storage locker, the service is not retransmitting a signal and therefore believes it avoids the legal entanglements companies like FilmOn and ivi suffered for offering broadcast TV over an Internet connection.
“Aereo is the first potentially transformative technology that has the chance to give people access to broadcast television delivered over the Internet to any device, large or small, they desire. No wires, no new boxes or remotes, portable everywhere there’s an Internet connection in the world — truly a revolutionary product,” Diller said.
Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, said: “Barry’s vast experience and knowledge of the television industry and his exceptional expertise in building successful and transformative companies is invaluable to Aereo. We are thrilled to have him join our board of directors and thrilled about our strategic collaboration and mentorship.”
Photo of Barry Diller by Michele Asselin, used with permission of IAC
Background photo by Flickr user yomanimus/David Beyer, used under Creative Commons license