After more than a year of testing, a service that lets pay television subscribers watch and record shows online is launching for New Yorkers.
NimbleTV, a start-up with 17 employees, is rolling out in the greater New York area, where customers can sign up to watch channels on Internet-connected devices including Apple's iOS smartphones and tablets, Roku boxes, Web-enabled TVs and browsers.
Anand Subramanian, NimbleTV's founder and chief executive, said the company is responding to consumers' demand for a way to watch programming online whenever, wherever and however they want, something the pay TV industry — which refers to the concept as "TV Everywhere" — has long promised but not yet fully delivered.
"The market has been ready for a service like this for a while, but the industry has not provided it yet," Subramanian said. "It's hard for an industry to change. You have to come in and make that happen."
People who already pay for a TV package can get NimbleTV for an extra $4 to $7 a month, depending on how many recording hours they want. (The higher tier allows 90 hours of programming a month.)
When a new TV customer subscribes to NimbleTV, the start-up signs up those people for Dish Network's service. The service costs from $30 a month for around 30 channels to $80 a month for more than 130 channels and additional recording space.
NimbleTV, based in New York, started testing in the summer of 2012 and has been slow to expand. It hit a setback this year when Dish cut off service to NimbleTV's customers. At the time, Dish said it was concerned that users would think it had a formal deal with the start-up, which it does not. Subramanian said that issue has been resolved.
The company has received financial backing from venture capital companies Greycroft Partners and Tribeca Venture Partners, along with the Tribune Co., the parent company of the Los Angeles Times.
Although Aereo, a Web TV company, has encountered legal resistance to its service that streams channels to people who don't pay for a TV package, Subramanian said he doesn't expect lawsuits against NimbleTV.
"We are making sure the industry is also kept whole," he said. "No one's getting harmed here. Everyone's getting paid."