services 04.23.12

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It's Sunday afternoon, you're in Brooklyn Bridge Park enjoying the weather, the views, your significant other. Fly meets ointment: the Mets are playing the Rockies and the first pitch is in ten minutes.

Your iPad, iPhone, or MacBook to the rescue. Aereo is a new Long Island City-based service, available only in NYC, that allows you to watch cloud-streamed live television on up to five devices. There are no cables, no special software (Safari handles it), virtually no setup. You can choose among three levels of video quality or have Aereo make the choice for you, taking into account how you're accessing the content. We found the picture quality excellent.

The internet may not exactly be a "series of tubes," as the late Senator Ted Stevens claimed, but Aereo's service is a series of antennas at the company's data centers, teeny-tiny 'tennas, one of which is 'yours'. It allows you to livestream without the dreaded buffering and stuttering. You can also use the service as a cloud DVR (40 hours of storage), to schedule and play back shows.

Channel selection includes CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and PBS, Telemundo, the CW, and then you're down to programming such as Leeza Gibbons' Good-For-Your-Skin Sheer Cover Mineral Makeup.

It's $12 a month for the service, but you can request an invite for a 90-day trial here.

Speaking of fly meets ointment, will Aereo still be around in 90 days? Major broadcasters have filed a lawsuit against the Barry Diller-funded enterprise for what they say is unlicensed streaming of their content. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, it's a lot of fun to use.


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