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NimbleTV testing Sling-like cloud service

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 2:06pm
Brian Santo

A start-up called NimbleTV is beta testing a cloud-based technology designed to enable customers of any given subscription TV service to access that service anywhere in the world, on virtually any device.

NimbleTV’s capabilities include cloud storage for recorded material – it promises “nearly unlimited recording capability.” There is, in fact, a limit: approximately 10,000 hours, or more than most people are likely to record and watch.

The service, of course, also provides obligatory social media add-ons, which include the ability to see what friends are watching and record the same programs, presumably provided they have the content rights, as well.

Enabling video distribution through the cloud is becoming a popular business. Dyyno just introduced a cloud-based TV Everywhere service; Cisco is enabling similar services with its Videoscape program; and Adara Technologies is offering switched digital video (SDV) in the cloud.

NimbleTV’s twist appears to be a variation on the Sling theme. NimbleTV sets customers up with their own subscription agreements with TV providers that NimbleTV supports. Customers make payments directly to their providers, with NimbleTV acting as a payment service.

Underscoring the Sling parallel, among NimbleTV’s backers are Tribeca Venture Partners, the Tribune Co. and Greycroft Partners – the last of which is being advised by former Slingbox executive Jason Hirschhorn.

One of the key differences compared to Sling is that NimbleTV does not require users to employ a box. Users will be charged an undefined fee.

Anand Subramanian, CEO of NimbleTV, said: “Our model is predicated on the belief that providers and content producers should be paid. NimbleTV is a solution that's both consumer-friendly and industry-friendly."

The company has not identified any specific multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) that it supports. The New York Times reports, however, that the service works “with or without the subscription company’s permission.”

The beta is limited to New York City, and to 26 channels that the company is paying for, The Times reports.

NimbleTV said it will start by supporting connectivity to cable and satellite MVPDs in the U.S. and India, with more countries to come.

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