SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A startup company is testing out a service that will let subscribers watch over-the-air television programming on their iPhones and iPads.

CNET Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley said the service, Aereo, is set to launch next month in New York.

“Aereo is installing huge collections of antennas and they are assigning subscribers one of those antennas, which picks up live TV and then can stream that to you over an Internet device,” said Cooley. “The reason they’re doing this is to get around this legal loophole that cable companies have to go by which is they have to pay local TV stations money to carry that station. Aereo is not doing that.”

CNET Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley:

Cooley said that subscribers would pay $12 a month to access streams from local channels to their iPhones, iPads and iPad Touches. Eventually, the company hopes to make the service accessible to PC browsers and Android-powered devices as well.

“It’s basically a web page that you go to and the television station streams there,” said Cooley. “You can also record the show. Aereo has a recorder on their web server that will grab it for you, but you have to tell it to do so. It’s like a virtual leased TIVO.”

Cooley said it’s still to be seen if the service will take off as a lot will depend on whether the programming is compelling enough for subscribers.

You can hear Brian Cooley’s Tech Watch report Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:50 P.M. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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