Perfecting the technology to stream video content across all platforms - and viewable from anywhere - has been the Holy Grail of the television industry for years. From industry behemoths, such as Time Warner and Comcast, to a number of startups, all have tried to advance the concept and knowhow of "TV Everywhere" without any genuine success.
But now an IIT graduate appears to have beaten everyone out of the gate. Last Monday, the New York-based NimbleTV, founded by Anand Subramanian, who left Mumbai for the United States a decade and a half ago, started beta testing such a platform that allows subscribers to access TV content from anywhere on any device.
Simply put, what NimbleTV is doing is uploading television packages that you have subscribed to - from any distributor anywhere - in the cloud and letting you watch them from any corner of earth through high-speed internet.
No Platform Ticket
The new technology is especially good news for peripatetic television junkies, who will be able to watch their favourite shows on mobile platforms and iPads, and even on the television sets in their hotel rooms. NimbleTV, which will be launched later this summer, also allows consumers to record shows without any restrictions.
How Revolutionary is NimbleTV?
"This is probably the biggest thing to have happened to TV in a long time," Subramanian said by phone from New York on Wednesday.
"[The] biggest thing in TV since the flat screen," a company post on its Facebook page claimed. Many, including those who know a thing or two about innovations, seem to agree.
"It is potentially game-changing," journalist Perri Peltz, said on Friday, honouring Subramanian with the prestigious Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award at the NYU Stern School of Business, barely four days after NimbleTV began the beta test.
The award recognises the contributions of disruptive innovators in the fields of business, technology, arts and entertainment. Subramanian's fellow honorees on Friday included pop superstar Justin Bieber and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
The company says the new technology is born of the twin ideas that consumers "should be able to access the TV they pay for wherever they happen to be" and "that providers and content producers should be paid". In that sense, the product is "a solution that is both industry friendly and consu-mer friendly," Subram-anian said.
"'TV Everywhere' as a concept has been there for a long time, but it is not a reality," Subramanian explained how he reached his Eureka moment. "The question that intrigued me is why that is the case. So when I started digging into it, I saw that it is an industry problem. And started thinking about how to solve it." Subramanian said the industry has responded very positively so far. "Cable companies all over the world have contacted us," he said without going into specifics.
The Cable Guy
The response from consumers was also overwhelming, according to Subramanian. "Our server had to be beefed up because we had so many people signing up," he said. "So we were a little unplanned for this kind of volume of people. People are interested all over the world."
One of NimbleTV's early investors is media giant Tribune, which owns a number of television stations across the US. A serial entrepreneur, Subramanian's maiden venture was in India. After graduating from IIT Bombay in 1992, he founded a medical software firm in the city.
He came to the US in the mid-1990s, after selling that company. And in the next few years, he would launch two more companies: iGate Capital, an IT consulting firm, and ContextWeb, an online ad company, which became a big success. Before stepping down as CEO of ContextWeb in 2010 to found the latest venture, the company was named as one of the top 500 fastest growing technology firms by Deloitte for four straight years. In 2008, he was a finalist for The Metro New York Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Not unlike many entrepreneurs of his generation, one of Subramanian's idols is the legendary Steve Jobs, whom he met in India during his IIT days more than two decades ago. "I was really fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend 20 minutes with him," he said of his meeting with the late Apple founder.
Subramanian, who constantly speaks on the issues of technology, media and their convergence, said he loves to help and mentor other entrepreneurs. "I am a very, very active person when it comes to entrepreneurship," he said. "Let's put it this way, my life and my work are the same, to a large extend."
Two other interests in his life are travel and sports, especially basketball and American football. Asked whether he follows any Indian sports, such as cricket, he said that he had played a lot of cricket in Mumbai. "But it is hard for me to follow cricket here," he says.
And that may change now, thanks to his new product, which will make it easier for him, and millions of others, to follow cricket and other pastimes from back home on any device. n
Global India Newswire