As cable and satellite providers grapple with how they can best provide their subscribers the ability to watch live shows on devices other than their televisions, a new start-up has debuted that hopes to steal their thunder. NimbleTV plans to sell subscriptions to consumers so they can watch live programming on any device -- including "thousands of hours" of DVR storage in the cloud as part of the deal.
The company won't be the direct provider of programming, instead letting you choose a package from a group of providers. It will be the conduit for your subscription to reach you on mobile devices, your computer, or your TV. That intermediary role is crucial, as it not only keeps NimbleTV from having to directly negotiate with dozens of broadcast channels to produce its own service, but also allows it to offer its streaming services to providers as the way to give their subscribers "TV anywhere" options.
That doesn't mean NimbleTV won't get itself into trouble with those potential partners. According to the New York Times, the company won't disclose who its provider partners are, and says that it can provide its services without the permission of providers. It compares itself to an "agent" of the user, buying the service from a provider and then reselling it to the user with a yet-undisclosed monthly fee tacked on.
Despite the steps it's taken to avoid lawsuits, it seems likely that NimbleTV will suffer the same fate as Aereo, another start-up that's attempting to appeal to "cord cutters" and quickly was sued by a number of broadcasters. The best-case scenario for the company is probably to convince a TV provider to purchase it and its streaming technology for its own subscribers.
In the meantime, NimbleTV is running a beta test of the service for New York city residents, offering 26 channels that it will pay for on its own. It plans to roll out fully with a satellite TV provider over the summer. By then, it may also be in court.