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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Jan 5

Written by:
1/5/2012 8:45 AM  RssIcon

Looking to circumvent television networks that refuse to license their content, embattled content provider FilmOn

FilmOn AIR is an ATSC-compatible digital antenna dongle that plugs into mobile devices and displays “over-the-air” digital signals from the major networks and local broadcasters.

(http://www.filmon.com/) has announced an ATSC-compatible digital antenna dongle that plugs into mobile devices and displays “over-the-air” digital signals from the major networks and local broadcasters. The receiving device, called FilmOn AIR, will be available in February.

The plug-in device is free with every $150 annual U.S.-based subscription to FilmOn’s Internet service. Sold separately for $95.95, it enables watching and recording of free-to-air shows on Apple’s iOS for iPad and iPhone, Google’s Android, Macs and PCs. A built-in five-hour battery with pass-through charging is included.

Looking to circumvent television networks that refuse to license their content, embattled content provider FilmOn (http://www.filmon.com/) has announced an ATSC-compatible digital antenna dongle that plugs into mobile devices and displays “over-the-air” digital signals from the major networks and local broadcasters. The receiving device, called FilmOn AIR, will be available in February.

The plug-in device is free with every $150 annual U.S.-based subscription to FilmOn’s Internet service. Sold separately for $95.95, it enables watching and recording of free-to-air shows on Apple’s iOS for iPad and iPhone, Google’s Android, Macs and PCs. A built-in five-hour battery with pass-through charging is included.

The “Air” dongle does not rebroadcast signals with an Internet connection. Instead, it receives signals off the air, circumventing the legal (exclusivity) issues being argued by U.S. television networks. The networks charge that FilmOn does not have the right to stream copyrighted video content over the Internet.

The antenna solution has yet to be tested by consumers, so its viability is not yet clear. It is also not clear whether the networks will attempt to block the new workaround.

Alki David, FilmOn’s chief executive officer and founder, said that the company has licensed over 120 HD online television channels and even launched its own college sports and live soccer channels, but the challenge has been in legally bringing major network programming to its lineup while “respecting the network’s traditional business models.”

FilmOn originally launched in September 2010, but was promptly sued by NBC, CBS, ABC, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Fox Television Stations. They argued that the company had no right to stream its content and that case continues.

FilmOn expects to settle the network dispute this year. Until the networks give their approval to allow their content to be included with the service, the AIR dongle will act as a workaround, the company said.

FilmOn offers “HD quality” TV broadcasts to computers via web browser and mobile devices via apps using Wi-Fi. So far, without network fare, most of FilmOn’s 120 channels of programming include sports and news broadcasts.

Besides its delivery platform for streaming HD IPTV, FilmOn also offers third-party turnkey solutions in content and technology branding. FilmOn.com is a Frankfurt-based company with offices in Beverly Hills, Calif. and London. It also maintains data centers in Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam and Geneva.

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