Cutting the cord may save you money, but the reality is that cable and satellite TV are incredibly convenient. Yet that convenience stops when you try to watch some of those channels on anything other than the cable-box-connected TV. One startup thinks it has a work around.
NimbleTV started accepting beta applications on Friday for its rather intriguing service. To give users access to their cable TV subscriptions on everything with a screen and an internet connection, NimbleTV will sign you up for a new cable account, host your cable hardware, and push your shows into the cloud. Your content is then accessible from any HTML 5-compatible internet-connected device anywhere.
But while most mobile devices have HTML 5-compatible browsers, most TVs do not. NimbleTV is looking into building apps for TVs and set-top boxes. But in the meantime, AirPlay for Apple TV that stream and set-top boxes with HTML 5 browsers will have to do.
Still, the most exciting aspect of the service is that if NimbleTV can get ramped up to a full launch, you’ll be able to subscribe to a pay-TV service from anywhere. International customers and expats could sign up for cable in the United States and stay on top of their favorite shows from anywhere in the world.
There’s a big question, however, of how the cable companies will react. NimbleTV CEO Anand Subramanian told Wired that conversations with providers have been very positive. Subramanian notes that placeshifting content isn’t new: “SlingBox has been around for 10 years and people placeshift all the time. This is very similar.”
Plus, the ability to subscribe to pay TV anywhere could also save you money. To lure subscribers, a cable company in a rural area could lower prices to undercut cable companies in large cities, and vice versa. It could effectively work to break up the natural monopolies some cable companies enjoy in certain markets. Not happy with the local provider? Switch to a provider a few towns over.
NimbleTV is currently in beta in New York City and plans on charging about an additional $20 (the company is still working on a pricing structure) above the cost of pay TV subscription for its service.