Broadcasters are suing a startup backed by media billionaire Barry Diller that sends a live local TV feeds to iPhones and iPads in the New York area.
Two groups of broadcasters, including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the local PBS station, filed suits Thursday in federal court, saying Aereo Inc.'s service uses their content without permission.
Aereo launched two weeks ago, but it's available by invitation only. Subscribers pay $12 per month and get access to 27 locally broadcast TV channels through the Web browsers of their Apple devices.
It's set to open up to more subscribers on March 14, who can preview the service for one month for free.
Aereo says the suits are groundless and it looks forward to a full and fair airing of the issues.
"Innovations in technology over time, from digital signals to Digital Video Recorders (“DVRs”), have made access to television easier and better for consumers," the company wrote on its blog. "Aereo provides technology that enables consumers to use their cloud DVR and their remote antenna to record and watch the broadcast television signal to which they are entitled anywhere they are, whether on a phone, a tablet, a television or a laptop."
The company says because it uses an antenna to collect the TV signal and then rebroadcasts it on the Internet, it is not breaking any laws.