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Can a streaming TV network add value to cable TV? NimbleTV is attempting to find out.
This week, the New York City-based streaming TV service opened up its year-long beta test to everyone in the New York City area. But instead of providing free-like-YouTube videos, users need to sign up and pay for the service, just like real cable TV.
The big difference, of course, is that the service is designed from the beginning to be available from anywhere, on a range of devices. Supported devices include Apple’s mobile products and Apple TV, Roku, Net-enabled TV and current browsers and OSes on computers. No Android yet. Users can purchase additional recording time on HD-DVR plans, ranging up to 90 hours monthly.
While NimbleTV is in the cloud, you need a physical address in metro NYC to get access to either of two packages. One, of 24 local channels, can be watched anywhere but requires that you have an existing cable subscription. It includes local news, sports, and major networks from providers Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, and RCN, and pricing begins at $3.99 monthly. Two additional tiers provide more cloud-based HD DVR recording time.
The other, a “concierge service,” is available to anyone in the NYC area, and its choices offer 130 network, local, cable, and premium channels in three tiers ranging from 30 channels to over 96 channels and beginning at $29.98 monthly.
Essentially, it’s cable on the go. Interestingly, founder and CEO Anand Subramanian told Variety that his company has no business arrangements with cable, satellite, or telco TV operators, but that its service falls under fair use. Dish Network is NimbleTV’s provider.
Subramanian noted in a statement that his company’s goal is to improve existing pay TV, “not displace it.”
That improvement, apparently, is to make cable TV more nimbly mobile. One pending question, however, is whether customers are willing to pay extra for the ability to watch cable TV anywhere – when they already have countless online video options and may already have cable TV waiting at home. The other question: If NimbleTV is successful, why wouldn’t the cable providers simply provide the same access?