nimbleTV offers OTT access to cable subscriptions
Michelle Clancy | 04-01-2013

Another 'alternate model' TV service, for lack of a better term, has launched in New York City to challenge Aereo and other, less controversial, over-the-top (OTT) video services.

nimbleTV has launched a beta test for 300 people in the city with plans to expand and be in several other countries as well in 2013, according to founder and CEO Anand Subramanian.

Online, the details are a little fuzzy: "Pick a cable or satellite package from any country and we'll sign you up. You'll get your own local address and nimbleTV will host all your shows in the cloud. Now you're ready to watch your TV using the nimbleTV software anywhere, on any device."

Subramanian, speaking to the Verge, explained the model as a sort of unofficial wholesale play: nimbleTV has signed up for various billing addresses for real cable subscriptions, apparently at home and abroad, which its customers then lease from it.

"We're trying to enhance the existing infrastructure of the pay-TV ecosystem and take it up a level," he said. Pay-TV companies "stand to gain new subscribers that they would have never gotten otherwise."

Customers are then able to use a Slingbox-like application to stream subscription content to phones, tablets and PCs, along with a cloud-based DVR.

Subramanian also alluded to a secret source in the content delivery network side of things, saying they claim the streaming quality is "50 per cent better" and that users will get "twice as many hours for the same bandwidth," which of course is a boon to those with mobile data caps. It also uses what sounds like adaptive bitrate streaming to adjust the quality level of the video to the capacity of the broadband link.

No pricing has yet been released, although presumably if it's paying the going carriage fees for content, or simply marking up an existing cable fee, it won't be cheap. And if it is, then industry watchers will be on the lookout for copyright infringement suits a la Aereo and FilmOn. But Subramanian seems bullish. "We are literally a service that is trying to complement existing television," he told the Verge. "There are very specific pain points that make the TV experience not ideal, and we're trying to fix them."