Who’s afraid of a little live TV? Why streaming service Aereo scares the broadcast industry

There is an infamous attack ad from the 1970s that opens with a montage of a devil, a vampire, and Frankenstein — and then shifts to a terrifying, anthropomorphized cable box. The angry cable box has red eyes and a wide row of shark-like teeth, which it gnashes as a paternal-sounding announcer warns viewers to stay away from cable: “Don’t let pay TV be the monster in your living room!”

The broadcast television industry has fought — in court, in Congress, and in the media — to block every major innovation in the delivery of its content. Broadcasters fought the upstart cable companies that figured out that a physical connection could deliver a clearer picture than a TV antenna. They fought the VCR and the DVR all the way to the Supreme Court. Now, they’re fighting a startup called Aereo that streams broadcast television live over the internet.