Aereo to launch in Atlanta next month

Metro Atlanta is the latest market to gain access to a new but controversial Internet service that lets consumers stream and record broadcast television programs.

Aereo, a media startup, said it will start offering services in metro Atlanta on June 24. Consumers who sign up at its website can stream broadcast television or record shows on computers, iPhones or iPads.

Aereo’s technology includes tiny antennas housed in data centers. Consumers who pay for Aereo’s service essentially rent their own, exclusive antenna.

Prices range from $8 to $12 a month, the company said.

The service is similar to using a DVR and is the latest competition to watching or recording traditional television. Broadcast networks have accused the company of illegally intruding on their TV signals.

“It has the potential to transform the industry,” said Jeff Kagan, a telecommunications analyst. “Is it really going to make a difference in the industry? Who knows.”

Atlanta is the third market for Aereo’s service, which plans to expand to more than 20 cities this year. The company chose Atlanta as an early market because of the area’s demographics, the high level of mobile and broadband use as well as consumer requests, Aereo spokeswoman Virginia Lam Abrams said.

Consumers have been flocking to non-traditional television and cable models like Hulu, Netflix and to combat rising prices for traditional channel bundles and to take advantage of new technology.

Aereo started in New York and was immediately seen as a threat to broadcast network business models. Some of the major broadcast networks unsuccessfully sued Aereo in federal court alleging copyright infringement.

“If Aereo is going to make money off of it, then the networks want a slice of the pie,” Kagan said.

Aereo’s primary backer is Barry Diller, a former Paramount CEO who helped launch the Fox television network.