Last month, Dish Network quietly dealt a death blow to a service called SETTV, which had been offering hundreds of streaming TV channels for $20 per month. Dish alleged that SETTV was retransmitting the satellite provider’s signals without permission, TorrentFreak reports, and a Florida court ruled that SETTV must shut down its service, turn over its domains and equipment, and pay more than $90 million in damages.
What’s most interesting about this story, however, is that SETTV had 180,398 paid subscribers before it shut down, adding up to over $3.6 million in monthly revenue. That’s not far behind some legitimate live TV streaming services, and as Cord Cutters News points out, SETTV is hardly alone in offering this kind of service.
Over the last year or so, I’ve had several readers ask me about similar offerings, which promise every conceivable cable channel at a much lower price than even the cheapest legal TV streaming services. (I usually warn them that these services, in addition to being ethically murky, can be unreliable, as they are obviously subject to lawsuits and takedown requests.)
In any case, SETTV shows that piracy isn’t exclusively the domain of freeloaders. It also appeals to people who are willing to pay–just not as much as what cable companies, satellite TV providers, and TV networks are asking.