Aereo television streaming coming to Philadelphia

In a data center in Brooklyn, startup Aereo has millions of tiny antennas. “Almost the size of a dime,” says company CEO and founder Chet Kanojia. More are coming to a data center near you.

Instead of a satellite dish on the roof or rabbit ears on your TV set, these tiny devices let customers stream live television via the Internet. The company will soon be rolling out its service in Philadelphia and 21 other television markets.

Until now, it has only served New York City.

The company is betting on attracting a younger audience that is already watching video online and viewers looking to stream TV to mobile devices.

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“What they are really missing is that live access,” says Kanojia from Las Vegas where he was attending the Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest tech event of the year.

Media consumers “want to be able to check out local news. They want to be able to watch special events,” he says. “They want to be able to see all the big games on broadcast.”

Having survived the first round of a legal challenge from cable providers, Aereo joins a crowded field of competitors to the big players such as Comcast.

Company backer Barry Diller’s notable achievements range from creating USA Broadcasting to giving the green light to “The Simpsons.”

So far, the number of subscribers actually canceling their cable service remains small but is growing. About 1.5 million people cut the cord in 2011.

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