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    NimbleTV has started its private beta in New York City with a pool of a maximum of 250 people.

    For those not aware, NimbleTV intends on distributing content from many US cities and cities around the world. They will accomplish this by subscribing you to a physical service (such as cable television) in the city of origination and then redistribute it to you via IP television, somewhat like a Slingbox. You will pay the subscription fee for the service plus a distribution fee for NimbleTV on top of that.

    I know this is a cumbersome way to approach it. We want an online provider to give us the programming directly, but it’s a start. For me, this will be useful when they offer Canadian services. Canada’s streaming services are not that great and leave a lot to be desired for sports. (I happen to be a fan of curling.) In the past I’ve used Canadian satellite services through the use of a broker. I had to buy the satellite equipment and then have a broker subscribe to Bell ExpressVu or StarChoice. I’m fortunate that I live very close to the Canadian border and was able to receive the signal easily. It was once the case that their satellite footprint covered most of North America but now just barely go over the border.

    If NimbleTV allows for on-demand seasonality, I will be able to subscribe for the winter months only.

    Legally, I don’t see how this service will fly. Having used the brokerage approach before I know it was a huge issue. The brokers provided a Canadian address. I paid the broker and then the broker paid the provider. I, as a subscriber, could never call the provider. If I did, I risked them finding out I was actually in the US and they would terminate my service. The brokers were very clear that they must have all contact with the provider. One broker’s client list was obtained by the provider and they killed all of the accounts. I can’t see how this would differ at all. The providers say that licensing does not permit reception of the content outside of the Canadian borders. This is the same reason that the BBC says you can’t use the iPlayer in the United States.

    This service would provide me with a non-equipment solution to obtain Canadian programming but I think it is likely that legal action would soon follow. Even within the borders of the United States, I think there would likely be claims of obtaining content outside of the home DMA. The satellite services had to deal with this by offering all of the DMAs to tailor reception to individual customers. There was a time when you could subscribe nationally but that ended long ago.

    The article explains some of the beta testing here:

    NimbleTV Launches Pay TV on the Web New York City Beta – Peter Kafka – Media – AllThingsD

    This is actually a very good demonstration of the service:


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