First and foremost, I feel it proper to extend a note of gratitude to two people in particular, Jessica Gaitan, our former Web Editor here and Dan Rice (whose professional wrestling blog you should go read right now. Seriously. Stop reading this. Go. OK. Are you back yet? Good), our current Web Editor. This blog brought home the best blog/online commentary award at last week’s MDDC competition and without Jessica giving this thing the green light almost a year ago (after many weeks of annoying badgering from me) and Dan subsequently coming on and not pulling the plug on it (because let’s be honest — this thing could go at any minute now), that award wouldn’t have been possible. So quickly, I owe them at least two body organs apiece and again, go read Dan’s blog. Now.
Well, how do you do, NimbleTV? It seems you wanted to grab our attention on this fine Monday afternoon. First a tip from one of our “Mad Men” contributors, and now a barrage of media coverage as the week begins. From Mr. Stelter at the New York Times …
… “NimbleTV, will begin testing its service with a limited number of users on Monday,” he wrote Sunday. “The service takes the package of television channels that a customer buys through a distributor like Dish Network, then streams the package onto the Web, allowing the customer more options for viewing than most distributors now allow. It also allows for thousands of hours of TV recording via a virtual digital video recorder.”
The piece goes on to explain how the company plans to help users watch any show on any device at any time. Stelter contends that the product most compatible with NimbleTV is a Cablevision app that replicates its subscribers’ live television lineups on pretty much any device you could ask for. The most intriguing part of this equation is that the product holds the potential to allow its customers to hand-pick their personal TV subscription packages.
So … what’s the problem? Well, Ricardo Bilton from ZDNET took to the interwebs Monday morning to quickly throw water on a potentially quick-spreading fire of fun. According to his story, customers of the product will be asked to pay a small fee (Stelter says about 20 bucks in his piece) for things such as DVR features, thus providing speculation that the product isn’t all its cracked up to be.
“Fee concerns aside, the idea seems solid, though concerns over traction and legality always hover over ventures such as this,” Bilton wrote. “Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious, NimbleTV isn’t the future of TV that lots of people have waiting on. So in that sense there may not be much to see here.”
… And we sigh.
Still, as Bilton points out, NimbleTV is actually a good alternative to Aereo, a product we talked about a couple months ago on this very blog. The difference between the two is that … well … NimbleTV might actually be legal. Aereo, on the other hand, has been facing a large amount of legal problems since we gushed over the product back in February.
But even so, the news of NimbleTV’s test run is welcome, if for no other reasons than the possibilities it presents. As you’ll see if you click on over to its website, the company offers much more than just the requisite ABC, CBS and NBC. And considering its run is beginning in only New York City, one has to think the kinks will be worked out out by the time it makes its way to other markets.
“I’m just trying to build a really good consumer experience and solve a consumer problem,” Anand Subramanian, the chief executive of NimbleTV, told Stelter.
Let’s hope that desire turns into a true, legal and reliable option for us folks who tend to rely on Internet television for all of our entertainment needs.