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Earlier this year we reported quite a bit on Aereo, a New York startup that offers customers the ability to watch network TV (the free stuff you get over rabbit ears) on any internet-connected device. It is now embroiled in a court battle with the big networks.
Today a Silicon Alley startup NimbleTV announced that it is bringing customers TV on any internet-connected device, but the pitch is a little different. Nimble is much closer to “TV Anywhere,” which was a service from the cable companies which never really took off. NimbleTV allows people to get their favorite programming on any internet-connected device, at any time, so long as they can prove they are paying cable customers.
Individuals can start signing up for the private beta today, and it sounds like Nimble wants to avoid the legal wrangling that Aereo embraced. “Our model is predicated on the belief that providers and content producers should be paid. NimbleTV is a solution that’s both consumer-friendly and industry-friendly,” said CEO Anand Subramanian.
It’s not entirely clear how integrated this offering is with existing cable plans. According to the release:
NimbleTV sets customers up with their own subscription agreements with TV providers that NimbleTV supports. Customers make payments directly to their providers with NimbleTV acting as a payment service. In addition to local coverage, NimbleTV includes all cable channels, depending on which package a customer selects. The service has more than 10,000 hours of digital recording. There is no box to buy or equipment to set up. NimbleTV has built-in social features that enable customers to easily follow and record what their friends like to watch on TV. It also plans to offer the service internationally.
The TV Anywhere platform put forth by Time Warner and Comcast three years ago has been bogged down with technical foul-ups and contractual hurdles. Nimble seems to be aiming for the vacuum left by TV Anywhere’s failed appearance. Consumers are clearly moving to a time-shifted, smartphone- and tablet-centric world, where people want to watch what they like, when they like. Whether Nimble can succeed where the big boys failed remains to be seen.