After Aereo's court victory, some in the media are speculating that the major broadcasters (CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX) will take their network feeds off the broadcast towers and stream only through cable providers:
A favorable outcome for Aereo and the Hopper in court would push TV operators to dramatically reshape themselves. It could even force them to trade in their broadcast towers and become cable channels alongside networks such as Bravo, AMC and ESPN, says Garth Ancier, who has been the top TV programmer at Fox, NBC and the WB networks.
"They won't have a choice," Ancier said. "When someone attacks your business, sometimes you do something radical."
Some of the top four major networks have been considering just such a move for months, and the emergence of the two technology threats could accelerate their decisions, according to Ancier.
That would keep the broadcasters' signals away from Aereo and their ads free from the Hopper, which for now only zaps broadcast ads in recorded television.
The downside? Broadcasters would have to turn their backs on the 11.1 million homes that Nielsen estimates still receives their TV signals from rabbit ears and rooftop antennas and do not have cable subscriptions.
Spokesmen for Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC declined to comment on their plans. Last week, following the Aereo ruling, Fox said "the court has ruled that it is OK to steal copyrighted material and retransmit it without compensation."