So we've talked about FilmOn and Ivi in the past. They both have been in bitter legal battles with the TV and cable broadcasters. Now, Bamboom is taking a more Zediva approach to it all. For those that don't know what I'm talking about Zediva offers streams of DVDs which is played in DVD players in its data center, so that you are essentially renting a DVD player and a DVD and not a stream of the content.
Potential Legal Issues?
Bamboom is doing much the same thing as Zediva, but with live television. Their technological spin is that they are assigning an antenna to each user and then pushing the signal to the cloud where a user can then pick it up and watch the shows.
Since there's really only one person per stream they're basically renting a stream to the user in a format that has already been vetted by a court in a recent Cablevision case which is how they supply subscribers with remote DVR. Oh, apparently it's also what Amazon and Google are using for music according to allthingsd.
Really, I see this as being no different than if I were to get a digital TV tuner for my PC and then stream that out through something like ORB or My Movies, etc. So if they are in fact using an antenna setup, then it's pretty much the same thing and I can't see that being illegal.
Will Consumers Use It?
I haven't checked the quality of the streams of anything like that, but I have signed up for the beta. And as soon as I can get some further information from them I can pass it along. Right now, I'm in the 'duh why didn't I think of that' stage.
The plan could very well work. Here's some of the copy from their site:
- Free over-the-air broadcast TV should be available to anyone within the service area of a channel.
- Consumers should have the freedom to choose when and where they watch whatever they want to watch, on whatever device they want to watch it.
- Smart technology and magical design can overcome the obstacles preventing consumers from reaching that goal.
With Bamboom technology, you break free from the typical TV experience. Free from restrictive and expensive TV packages. Free from wires and boxes and bland technology. Your TV becomes mobile, just like the rest of your life. TV is social, even when you're alone. And it's all wrapped up in an elegant and easy-to-use experience that can work on the devices you already have.
I don't know that they would be able to offer cable, as that would be rather tricky since you generally need hardware and a subscription. So that means they can really only offer over-the-air broadcasts to users, which might turn some consumers off to the idea.
Locally, here in Milwaukee, that's all of 35 channels, for instance. Of course, 10 or so are Milwauke Public TV (not knocking them, just saying… I love public TV/radio) and music. However, NBC, FOX, CW, CBS and ABC are all present so you could watch some good stuff. There are also some indie channels (freaky right?) including WMLW which gets some Brewers games and that means that on those particular days, I could watch them. I'll tell you my whole MLB.TV saga when I finalize this "returning to the US and going digital" article I'm working on.
I can see them charging a subscription for the service which would then make it sort of useless for the technically savvy who could do the exact setup I just mentioned above with just a $50 digital TV tuner for their PC. Plus, you'd already have built in DVR to go with it, which is what some people believe they will charge for and make their money off of.
Now, if it were ad supported, well that would be fine too. After all, it's broadcast TV being streamed conveniently for me… and there are commercials in it anyway. And the fact that it plans to support all devices means consumers will have lots of options for accessing the service as well.
I'll keep you all updated on my findings at Bamboom. Oh, and I really dig their awesome comic-book-like website, don't you?
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