NimbleTV is the newest in a line of online TV startups, promising to stream cable or satellite TV from anywhere in the world using datacenters full of cable boxes. The company has just started a beta test in New York City, New York for 300 users, with plans to expand throughout the United States and to five or six other countries within a year, according to CEO Anand Subramanian. The practical implications of the new service: sports fans living outside of their teams’ home markets can subscribe anywhere; for example, St. Louis Cardinals fans can sign up for Charter Communications’ St. Louis service even if they live in California or New York.
NimbleTV circumvents problems from local providers by having their customers leasing an actual billing address at one of NimbleTV’s locations, and sign up for traditional cable TV or satellite service from a local provider. Because of this, cable and satellite companies stand to gain new subscribers they would never have reached before.
The features of NimbleTV are many: unlimited DVR with no recording conflicts, smart streaming to phones, tablets, and PCs, and a 50 percent better streaming speed than other online TV services. Subramanian believes that the amount of bandwidth needed is less than Netflix.
The system works well so far. The questions are whether or not people will be willing to pay traditional cable fees in addition to what they will have to pay NimbleTV for the service, and whether or not NimbleTV can scale up to get all of the data centers they will need to offer nationwide service. If so, this feels like the future of online TV.
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