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Why Aereo Could Change the Way You Watch TV Forever

Aereo Antenna Courtesy Aereo

Newsflash: Aereo is not a delicious chocolate cream-filled cookie (though now we totally want one).

It's a new way to watch TV that is so controversial, it has risen all the way up to the Supreme Court.

So what's it all about and how can it change the way you watch TV forever? (Ever...ever...that's our dramatic echo effect.) We are here to break it down for you.

Aereo is basically a "DVR in the clouds" service that takes local broadcast feeds (you know, the stuff you get for free, like CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC), and brings it into the streaming fold so that you can watch it on any device you want at any time. Want to watch the Scandal finale on your iPhone? Bam. Done. Missed that huge death on The Good Wife and want to watch it real quick in the bathroom at work on your iPad before the whole world spoils it for you? Not a problem, sir!

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Aereo uses digital antennas that record the broadcast. And for a fee, users can get that (normally free) content streamed to their computers, mobile devices or Roku box.

So basically you are paying for TV you used to get for a grand total of zero dollars. But you can watch it anywhere, any time.

But here's the thing: The broadcast networks are so not down with this idea. So much so that their legal battle with Aereo has risen all the way to the highest court in the US. The people that bring you ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the such are suing claiming Aereo is violating copyright law by allowing public performances.

"I think what's at stake in this case is really the nature of broadcast television as we know it," Paul Clement, the lawyer for the broadcasters, said outside the Surpreme Court.

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In March, Aereo filed its response brief with the Supreme Court, with CEO Chet Kanojia asserting, "Aereo's cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law. We have every confidence that the Court will validate and preserve a consumer's right to access local over-the-air television using an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice."

Aereo contends that their service is a "more modern-day" TV atenna and DVR and that the broadcasters are "asking the Court to confine conusmers to outdated equipment and limit their access to lawful technology."

On Tuesday, several justices expressed concern over a broad ruling with the case and how it could possibly affect future cases involving cloud technology. "I'm hearing everybody having the same problem," Justice Stephen Breyer said.

So who's right? And would you sign up for this service so you can watch The Bachelor premiere live while waiting for the bus? A ruling on Aereo is expeced this summer. So you have a little time to decide.

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