Why Aereo wins and why it matters


We live in an amazing era. Technology delivers delivers information to people regardless of format or distance. This fact scares the Broadcast Television market. An entire industry is kept up at night because someone small has come to challenge them.

Computers do three jobs. One job is input and output. We have to get data into a computer, and have to have a way to get something out of the computer. The second job is processing. The data is brought in, context is applied, and the resultant information is sent somewhere. Job three is storage. Users store information for recall moments later, hours later, days later, weeks later, months later, even years later.

A computer is a system that can perform these three tasks. In electronic computers we separate these three building blocks with wires and things called buses. A bus is an orderly system of wires and hardware that allows data and information to be moved from input, to or through processing or storage, to output as needed.

When mainframes were the primary systems used, I/O (input and output) was physically separated from storage and processing. An operator would sit down in front of a terminal to supply input. That input would pass to the mainframe for processing and storage. When needed, output was provided to the terminal so the operator could interact.

Fast forward half a century and we are doing the same thing again. This article exists because an iPad provides I/O. WordPress.com processes and stores data from the iPad. WordPress.com is acting as the mainframe, and an iPad is acting as the terminal. The current term for this separation of I/O, storage, and processing is “the cloud.” The bus that is used to tie everything together is a combination of wired and wireless connections and hardware.

The term “cloud” has to do with how we break up and separate I/O, storage, and processing. Interestingly enough, the term cloud applies to another popular wireless network that separates I/O from storage and processing. The network in question is referred to as “broadcast network,” or “television broadcast network.”

When an individual sits down in front of a television, they are viewing output. The output occurs in pictures and sound. However, pictures and sound are not what was delivered to the output device. Data in the form of ones and zeroes was sent through a network to the output device. The output device processes the ones and zeroes into graphics and sound. The graphics and sound cross a bus after processing and are then presented to the individual watching television.

A broadcast system emits a carrier wave on a certain frequency. The television receiver is designed to make use of this carrier wave. The fact that you receive signal wirelessly occurs only because of how strong the signal is. Weaker signals travel similar distances by the use of a copper wire.

Television broadcasters want you to believe in magic. They pretend like the process Aereo uses is in some way taking advantage of a loophole. Aereo is accused of using an unfair tactic to skirt the law. Now for the fact of the matter. There is a portion of a paragraph above that is in bold. This portion explains how TV works. It also explains how Aereo works. The ONLY point of concern comes from the italicized portion of the same paragraph.

The entire case Television Broadcasters have brought before the Supreme Court asks one question. What is the maximum length of the bus that is allowed when moving audio and video from a processor to a display device? Television Broadcasters want to control the functionality of the technology we refer to as “the cloud.”

Television Broadcasters feel they deserve a special exception. The rest of the world and the technology in it functions using a set of rules. Broadcasters want to change the rules after 50 years to do what is in their interests. I understand that television broadcasters run a business. I understand they choose to do what is in their own best interest. What I can not understand is why they would endeavor to dupe people into believing nonsense.

Only one court has been duped in to believing nonsense. I am not surprised that it was a court in Utah.

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