New York — Aereo, the controversial retransmission service of local broadcast TV stations over the Internet, said Monday that it is now available to 19 million people living in the New York City metropolitan region.
Aereo’s coverage footprint now includes 29 counties across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, up from just the initial five NYC boroughs.
The cord-cutting service takes local broadcast TV stations and retransmits them over the Internet for reception by network-connected video display devices, including smart phones, smart TVs and tablets, among other devices.
Launched last year, Aereo has financial backing from media titan Barry Diller, chairman of IAC and one of the creators of Fox Broadcasting and USA Broadcasting.
Currently, the service is only available in the New York City area. It carries 31 channels in three different languages.
Membership plans range from $1 a day, $8 a month or $80 a year.
The service has been attacked on legal grounds by broadcasters ABC, NBC and CBS, which last year filed a copyright violation suit claiming the service is illegally using their content.
The announcement of territory expansion comes less than two months after Aereo first announced its intention to ramp up to 22 additional markets in 2013.
Aereo also said that starting Monday it will begin its first advertising campaign on New York City-area billboards, phone kiosks and at key city transit points, including waterways, commuter trains and PATH transit hubs.
“Creating more choice and a competitive marketplace is a good thing for consumers,” said Chet Kanojia, Aereo CEO and founder. “Today, consumers are tethered to expensive and outdated technology that limits how, when and where they can enjoy their own television programming. Aereo’s technology now lets us provide simplicity, ease of use and rational pricing — three things that have all but disappeared for the consumer. We believe that consumers deserve better, and we’re committed to delivering on that promise.”