Aereo is out of capacity in New York City

Confirmed by Founder and CEO Chet Kanojia on Twitter, the Aereo over-the-air TV service is actually out of capacity in New York City.

A few weeks ago, we posted about Aereo’s legal troubles and the pending Supreme Court case.

This is unrelated, but an interesting problem. There is some conjecture that the capacity problem stems from the cost of power needed to run Aereo’s massive antenna farm.

While broadcaster lawyers are seen as Aereo’s biggest impedement to success, a report in the Wall Street Journal last fall claimed that Aereo’s legal strategy, which involves leasing a tiny physical OTA antenna to each and every user in order to skirt broadcaster content licensing demands, is a significant power draw. Each small antenna uses five to six watts of power, the Journal positing that Aereo might find that footing the power bill troublesome as the operations scale.

That said, Aereo assures me that the problems in New York aren’t power related and are “strictly a capacity issue.” “We’ve had strong growth, so we’re working to add more capacity to serve more consumers,” company spokesperson Virginia Lam tells me. An ETA on resolution or more technical specifics on what kind of capacity the company is struggling with remains unclear.

I find the Aereo model both disruptive (obviously) and fascinating. Market disruption is becoming such a regular occurrence, I expect it will become a documented field of study, with associated college degrees and how-to-manuals.