Android App Aerial TV Banned from Google Play – Now Available on Amazon

Aerial TV is an Android app that allows you to watch DVB-T TV with an RTL-SDR on a mobile device. We posted about Aerial TV back in April and it was available on the Google Play store back then. Unfortunately Aerial TV has recently been banned from the Google Play store as apparently the app can be used to display copyrighted material from TV. The author writes the following on a Facebook post:

Google Play has suspended Aerial TV due to “[Aerial TV] claims to provide copyrighted contents from TV channels”. According to Google apps that display live TV are of “questionable nature”. I am trying to clarify what they mean. I would like to apologize to all affected users. If you have any concerns, feel free to get in touch with Google directly.

This is quite odd and probably a mistake. But if you are looking for Aerial TV it is now available on the Amazon app store with a current 35% discount. If you bought the app on the Google Play store then to get new updates you will need to uninstall it, contact the developer for a refund, and then purchase it again on the Amazon store. More info about that is available on the Facebook page. Updates about it’s availability will always be provided on the official website at aerialtv.eu.

19 comments

  1. Samizdat

    I am going to DDoS Crapita for this atrocity! We all know they are to blame, TV Licnazing have too much power and the sooner Sneaky Uncle Beeb get their funding pulled the better. Not good enough! Amazon got caught selling user details to them, in many cases for non-TV items.

  2. Stefano Mollo

    … I don’t get it !

    What’s the difference between watching TV (copyrighted or not) with a normal TV set or a PC with a TV (DVB-T or analogue) card or a PC with a USB DVB-T TV dongle or using a mobile phone (which is a kind of computing device) with the same USB dongle, just with a different software (for obvious reasons) that performs the same function (i.e., receiving and decoding a digital signal, to then display it on a screen)?
    I think login and common sense went on holiday that day …..

  3. GiamMa-based researchers SDR R&D IoT

    Several years that the television lobbies contrasting the consumer electronics lobby. it wants to push the dvb-h more expensive of free channels dvb-t. There are many Asian cell phone models that implement the dvb-t chip tuner but in europe are difficult to find but not impossible. Nothing new under the sun.

    • admin

      Wow that’s horrible. I think you should ask them directly what makes Aerial TV different to all the other DVB-T apps available on the Play market. Some of the other DVB-T apps for other dongles like the Air DTV have 500,000 – 1,000,000 installs. The Air DTV dongle is even specifically designed to work only on mobile devices using the Play store app, so if their app gets banned then their whole business model is ruined.

  4. snn47

    Wouldn’t any SDR that provides a wider bandwidth, like Airspy, suffice, and has anyone tried if it works?
    What about DVB versions used in asia?

    Instead of a liscense you need for encrypted TV, additional hardware and a keycard. With introduction of DVB-T2 that is the case for Germany for most private TV station. ironically the caompany that markets the keys calls itself freenet TV

  5. Anonymous

    Guessing App Store doesn’t get the tech behind this and think the app is streaming the content rather than receiving a broadcast just like a TV does. RE: US broadcasts, the problem is that ATSC which is used in the US requires more signal bandwidth than DVB-T does in the EU, this is why none of these RTL-SDR’s can receive US broadcast TV.

    • Bertie

      > the problem is that ATSC which is used in the US requires more signal bandwidth than DVB-T does in the EU, this is why none of these RTL-SDR’s can receive US broadcast TV.

      Technically that is not the reason, people who use RTL-SDR devices for SDR have the RTL2832U chip configured in a special debug mode to access a raw IQ stream (It’s normal operating function is to demodulate DVB-T/DVB-T2 into a bit stream). There is a limit to the amount of data that can be transferred out of the RTL2832U chip on the device through it’s debug interface, when not functioning in it’s normal operating mode. It probably was a design feature of the chip to allow easy access for DAB and DAB+ (which requires 2.048MHz of bandwidth).

      DVB-T is specified for 5, 6, 7, or 8 MHz channel bandwidth (I’ve mostly seen 8MHz).
      DVB-T2 is specified for 1.7, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 MHz channel bandwidth (I’ve mostly seen 8MHz).
      ATSC is specified to used 6 MHz (the same as the old analogue NTSC signal).

      So what would be needed for that function in the US would be a chip similar to the RTL2832U, but that demodulate ATSC into a bitstream. There are ATSC dongles ( https://www.linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/ATSC_USB_Devices ), with chips in them that do demodulate ATSC into a bitstream, but none appear to have the debug mode available in the RTL2832U chip (yet). But it could just be because that functionality is not strictly required in the US, HD-Radio would use at most 500kHz bandwidth, maybe a special debug mode for accessing that as a raw IQ stream, may come to light some day for ATSC specific chips.

        • Bertie

          No, because there are enough differences that an older implementation hard coded into silicon would not be able to do everything that was required. Of course if the modulation was very carefully chosen say 64QAM,8k OFDM mode, 1/32 guard interval, 5/6 FEC then maybe, but it would be dumb to do so from the perspective of a TV broadcaster. The bit stream would be different between DVB-T and DVB-T2 as well and require custom decoding software. The bottom line it is a lot of work that will not work if the brodacaster upgrades their signal format versus spending €10 on a DVB-T2 stick.

          DVB-T:
          QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM constellations
          2K-mode or 8K-modes
          1/4,1/8,1/16,1/32 guard interval
          1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 FEC
          etc …
          DVB-T2:
          QPSK,16-QAM, 64-QAM, or 256-QAM constellations
          1k, 2k, 4k, 8k, 16k, and 32k modes
          1/4,19/128,1/8,19/256,1/16.1/32,1/128 guard interval
          1/2, 3/5, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6 FEC
          etc …

  6. Dave H

    That seems a little odd, since broadcast content has been licensed for, well, broadcast. Unless one is required to have a license to watch DVB-T?

    • Martin Marinov

      Well not really. Here’s my understanding. In UK for example you cannot legally view TV unless you have a valid TV license. The TV license grants you permissions to view copyrighted content on TV. So in theory Aerial TV can allow you to watch TV without a license in the UK therefore assisting you in breaching copyright.

      That being said the same applies for any hardware TV receiver. Furthermore there are a number of apps on Google Play that allow customers to watch (and even record) live TV from a USB dongle, similar to rtl-sdrs. Why Aerial TV is different from all of the above is unclear.

      • Fabrice C

        Hi,

        Very bad Google answer to all our questions … Did you try to remove all TV pictures ? just keeping the settings screen ? Also be carefull with the description of your application when you say all tv content for free… maybe a better sentence like Free to air tv channel ? Anyway i use your application and it works quite well.

        • Martin Marinov

          Yes of course. In fact even better, I provided them with a full list of the stock images used for marketing AerialTV and a proof of right of usage.

          After providing this they changes the tone of the conversation saying that the app “illicits” copyright infringement. I will post the new thread soon. They now require I provide a written consent form for every single TV channel that can be watched with Aerial TV. This pretty much means all the TV channels around the world need to explicitly send me a statement saying they grant me copyright. As you can imagine this is pretty much impossible.

          I will be notifying the UK watchdog about market domination abuse by Google since they allow other apps to play live TV with other hardware devices such as TvZen, etc. I wonder how they got a consent from every single channel that is on the air to prove Google they have the copyright to show live TV.

      • John

        Here in Ireland, just like in the UK, you need a TV licence to watch TV. Strangely, when I asked the woman responsible for sending letters urging me to pay, the answer was that a monitor does not classify as a TV, but the existence of my TV (which is used exclusively as a monitor as local programming is horrible) would require me to pay 180 euros just because I own a device capable of receiving TV programming. No wonder nobody pays the TV licence 🙂

        • Martin Marinov

          You need TV licence in UK to watch TV on Aerial TV as well. However once you have this you are granted copyright to view over-the-air free TV channels (Freeview in UK).

        • Scott

          @John You should look up the exact details about licencing conditions for Ireland because in the UK owning a TV doesn’t mean we need a licence even though the bully boy enforcers like to think so which is fraud what they are doing by obtaining payment through deception.

          http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/telling-us-you-dont-need-a-tv-licence

          You only need a licence to watch catch up or live tv and that’s all, You would need a licence to use this app though but is it really worth paying for a licence to use this app? I would rather donate the money to people who need it.

          It makes me laugh how they named it “Freeview” when people who have a licence are paying for it.

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