Another digital TV distributor is looking to deliver free-over-the-air broadcast channels to viewers. But it has a different approach in using "cloud" technology.
Bamboom, a new Long Island City, N.Y.-based company, is currently looking for New York-area TV viewers to participate in a beta test that would be delivery-free over the air channels to viewers, via various digital devices.
Last fall, two new digital video companies -- FilmOn and ivi TV -- transmitted over-the-air broadcast signals via the Internet free to viewers. They were almost immediately embroiled in legal actions, which forced them to curtail their respective efforts.
Similarly, Bamboom knows what it is up against. On its Web site, the site says: "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."
Bamboom has a slightly different approach than its predecessors. According to Richard Greenberg, managing director/media analyst for BTIG Research, who was briefed about the new business, Bamboom isn't a broad-based Internet video distributor. Instead, it assigns a broadcast "antenna" to each customer through "cloud" technology. The TV signal can be moved to any device with a browser. Ultimately,this means Bamboom delivers to one customer via one stream.
Right now, it seems Bamboom is focusing on over-the-air broadcast signals -- not cable networks, for example. Greenfield says the business could have an DVR option, according to some business analysts, where it could charge consumers.
New digital video providers, such as FilmOn and ivi TV, believe their digital distribution system to be exempt from copyright infringement laws targeted to "cable systems." Instead, they believe, based on the "compulsory copyright" rules, that they have the right to retransmit signals by just paying a small fee.
Big-market TV station owners strongly disagreed -- and so far, the courts have sided with them. In the last few years, many TV station wners have been grabbing high retrans revenues from cable operators, satellite distributors and telco video companies to carry TV station signals.