Aereo targets Comcast subscribers with Boston launch

Aereo said it will launch its online video platform in Boston on May 15, where it'll challenge Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and RCN Corp. with a package of 28 local TV channels that customers will be able to view on Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and iPhone, Roku set-tops and Web browsers.

The company, which debuted in New York last March,will also compete with Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV and other pay TV providers that have systems in parts of the Boston DMA, which includes 4.5 million viewers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Comcast's NBCUniversal subsidiary, Fox, ABC, PBS and 13 other broadcasters have been attempting to get a court order to shut down Aereo's service in New York. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request for an injunction from the broadcasters on April 1, but the plaintiffs recently asked the court to rehear the case.

While Aereo is headquartered in Long Island City, N.Y., founder Chet Kanojia has strong ties to the Boston area. He's a graduate of Northeastern University and ran advanced advertising firm Navic Networks from an office in Needham, Mass., before selling the company to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) in 2008. Aereo has an office in Boston's Innovation District.

Aereo's packages include a $1 daily pass and an $8 monthly option that includes 20 hours of storage space on its cloud-based DVR. It also sells a $12 monthly package that includes 40 hours of storage space and an option of $80 for one year of service if customers pay in advance. Its programming lineup in Boston will include local ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision and Telemundo affiliates, along with PBS Kids and Bloomberg Television.

Aereo announced in January that it would expand to 22 cities including Miami, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

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