I finally had a chance to poke around the new, revived nimbleTV, and it looks mostly the same as the nimbleTV I got to know before Dish shut it down for a few weeks. There are a few differences, and the big ones have Dish’s thumbprint on them.
The first change is that all nimbleTV customers must provide a valid New York City address to watch NYC local channels. Good thing I’ve got a NYC mailing address.
The second change is a restriction on simultaneous recordings. I know it used to be at least nine, Peter Litman wrote that it was 10, and nimbleTV’s site had called it unlimited and still calls it limitless. Today, a subscriber is limited to four simultaneous recordings.
The third change is trivial compared to the first two. My Casual Viewer package (taking channels from Dish’s Welcome Pack) dropped a lot of shopping and religious channels but added HSN, Daystar, and TV Guide Network.
Most things haven’t changed. NimbleTV still uses my favorite guide (shown above), an outside-the-box horizontal scroller that works well once you get used to it. NimbleTV still provides great streaming TV to my iPhone and computers. And nimbleTV still uses Dish but refuses to say anything substantial about their relationship.
Here’s my theory: Despite Dish’s continued assertion that nimbleTV isn’t an “authorized retailer,” they must have a deal or an understanding in place, otherwise nimbleTV’s receivers would stay shut down. The first two changes address likely Dish objections. If you’ll remember, Dish ran into legal trouble over distant network channels before and wouldn’t want to replay that case just because of nimbleTV. The new recording limit probably came about because Dish didn’t like it that nimbleTV subscribers could record more shows than a regular Dish customer.
Consider that within a couple of days of the outage, nimbleTV was telling its customers that “It may take up to two weeks for the billing issue to resolve completely and for service to be restored.” That was a very specific timeframe, and in retrospect, it sounds like an estimate for the time nimbleTV programmers would need to change the system to check for more than four recordings and to split the channel packages for local and non-local viewers.
I eagerly invite corrections. If I’m wrong about any of these guesses, which are just one explanation for nimbleTV’s behavior, I would be happy to change this post and add whatever information Dish or nimbleTV would care to share with its viewers. But I’ve got an unusual feeling about all of this. It’s the feeling that I may be right.