Commentary

Aereo Founder's New Project Could Include Ad Blocking

Chet Kanojia, founder of the defunct online video distributor Aereo, today unveiled a new device that potentially could enable broadband subscribers to block ads on their computers, tablets and other devices connected to their home WiFi networks.

The new product, Starry Station -- described as an "ambient touchscreen WiFi station" -- integrates with people's home WiFi networks. Starry Station aims to give broadband subscribers more information about their current home networks -- including the speed of their broadband connections, and details about connected devices.

The device also will offer controls that potentially could let people block ads at the network level, according to Alex Moulle-Berteaux, chief marketing officer for Starry.

For now, however, the plan to incorporate ad-blocking technology appears vague. The station, which goes on sale Feb. 5, doesn't currently offer ad-blocking capabilities, Moulle-Berteaux told MediaPost today. He added that it's not yet clear what technology Starry would use to power any potential ad-blocking features.

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The Starry Station isn't the only thing Kanojia unveiled today. He also announced plans for a new wireless broadband service that could compete with Comcast, Time Warner and other providers.

That offering will offer fiber-like speeds of up to 1 Gbps, Kanojia told reporters today. Starry will transmit data via the airwaves, and consumers will be able to install the system themselves, Kanojia says.

“The future of connectivity is wireless and having simple, affordable access to an internet connection is imperative for every household and business,” Kanojia said in a statement about the new service.

He told reporters today that he expects to launch Starry this summer in Boston, and that the service won't have any data caps. Pricing has not yet been announced.

The engineers that helped build Aereo are developing the new offerings. Starry is backed by investors including FirstMark Capital, Tiger Global, IAC, KKR, HLVP and Quantum Strategic Partners.

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