Cable Technology Feature Article
NimbleTV to Bring Cable TV to Mobile Devices
By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer
While the idea of cable cutting is gaining ground, it has one particular point in which it truly loses, and that's on the convenience factor. The loss of the cable box may be a big cash-saver, but it is not a time saver, nor is it exactly easy to use. Services like Netflix and Hulu (News - Alert) Plus, as well as the Roku box, are making a big difference, but there's still quite a bit that users lose out on when they cut that cable for good. However, NimbleTV thinks that it may well have a solution that will provide that cable on all mobile devices, and it has recently started taking beta applications for the service.
Basically, NimbleTV is finally doing what cable users have likely wanted for some time: allowing users to take the programs they pay for at home with them wherever they go, not just on smaller screens in their own houses using the cable provider's Internet services. What NimbleTV will do is sign users up for a new account, host the hardware and push the shows into the cloud, where subscribers can then get in with any device that can handle HTML5.
This isn't a problem for most regular devices, from laptops to smartphones, but for televisions, it's actually a pretty substantial problem. NimbleTV is out to fix that, not surprisingly, but considering that many televisions can fairly easy hook into computers these days (those that don't have HDMI ports outright can benefit from an HDMI-to-DVI adapter cable), there should be more than enough options on hand. Better yet, AirPlay for Apple (News - Alert) TV will do the job just as well as any set-top box with an HTML5 browser.
Early word from the cable companies is oddly positive, which is somewhat counter-intuitive given some of the resistance seen previously, but there are clear possibilities that cable companies may enjoy. For instance, having access to streaming offerings would allow them to essentially become a Hulu of their own, offering their services to remote geographic areas and undercutting natural monopolies. If, say, Comcast is the only game in town, Time Warner (News - Alert) could come in and offer their own cable service, at lower prices, taking over Comcast's business in areas where the only option previously was Comcast.
This concept doesn't come without cost, however, as NimbleTV is looking to charge $20 more than the cost of a subscription for access to cable programming. It could be forgiven for looking at the situation and think that, maybe, NimbleTV is solving the wrong problem. While indeed, the ability to get access to the signals that people are already paying for is a big step, much of the idea behind cable cutting is the idea of getting rid of a pretty big bill and following that up with having to either no longer pay for or pay much less for programming with regular commercial interruption. So, yes, there's the possibility for savings with NimbleTV as cable providers go to price war in a bid to get subscribers, but how much of that savings will be eaten up by NimbleTV's surcharge?
Still, it does solve one significant problem and gives cable television as a whole a better value proposition. It may not keep the cable-cutting exodus from carrying on, but it might well make some subscribers change their minds. In the end, that's a better step than going without.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey