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At SXSW today, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia spoke about the company’s recent legal troubles and the continued growth and expansion of the service. If you’re not familiar with Aereo, I would definitely recommend you check out our complete review of the service, but in short it’s a standalone TV (for over-the-air broadcasts) and DVR service for people who don’t want to pay for a cable subscription.

Kanojia did not really discuss the impending Supreme Court case that could drastically impact the future of the company, telling the audience that “I haven’t thought about it,” and “I don’t focus on it.”  Despite those remarks, it clearly is a very important marker for the company–it could be the difference between staying independent and having to sell the company to a company like Time Warner Cable or Comcast.

While Kanojia would love to keep the company independent he didn’t completely rule out the possibility of a sale.  He told us that if Aereo ever found itself unable to “deal with the bigger forces on a standalone basis,” the company would seek out a partner to help it take on the industry. That being said if the Supreme Court finds in favor of Aereo, well, then a sale looks very unlikely.  “We’ll do what’s the best thing. If the Supreme Court says your core functionality is above reproach… that you’re legal, then it’s an extremely valuable company. Why would I ever want to sell something that is extremely valuable?” said Mr. Kanojia.

Right now, Aereo is expanding to new cities based on the number pre-registration signups and plans to be in a total of 22 markets this year. Another major thing on the Aereo roadmap is improving backend infrastructure so problems such as the one that occurred during the Oscars (a portion of subscribers that attempted to tune in live were met with a service error and those with recordings were treated to abbreviated playback) don’t become commonplace.  The company has two scheduled updates that are intended to fix the scaling issues, one is slated to be rolled out this month and another in mid-April.

Other major interests for Aereo right now include getting the service on the growning number of Smart TVs as well as launching a Chromecast app (expected to be released in the next few weeks).  Apps for Xbox One and Playstation 4 weren’t ruled out by Kanojia either, but he did say not to expect those anytime soon.

Also worth noting that this past week Aereo launched in Austin, Texas against the backdrop of SXSW.  The Austin launch marks the fourth city in Texas that people can subscribe to Aereo in and also brought the total number of cities Aereo is available in to 14.


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