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Want to watch TV, but don’t like the limitations of cable? Look into NimbleTV, which offers a few free live TV stations and paid plans for cable stations.

Recently I introduced you to FilmOn, which lets you watch a variety of over-the-air TV stations free of charge Watch Live TV Online, For Free, With FilmOn Watch Live TV Online, For Free, With FilmOn Watch TV, on your computer – without the need for an antenna, TV card or subscription. FilmOn is a free service offering a wide variety of TV channels in the US and UK. Read More . That service doesn’t ask for permission from providers: it re-broadcasts signals without permission, and as such is subject to frequent lawsuits.

NimbleTV, in contrast, is trying to do online live television legally. You can connect the service with your existing cable stations, or pay for a direct subscription to watch cable TV online.

Nimble also offers a free service. The channels offered this way are scarce, but it’s a good way to get a feel for this TV service – and worth looking into if you primarily want to watch the news.

TV, But Online

Sign up for an account and you can start watching TV immediately.

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nimbletv-watchingtv

As I said before: the channels you can watch for free are (quite) limited – but more on that later. For now know that the TV watching experience is pretty good. You can use the prominent arrows, or your arrow keys, to see what’s on other channels – without leaving, or obscuring, the current channel. Or, if you prefer, you can bring up a TV guide and explore what’s on right now:

nimbletv-guide

The streams load quickly – I’d say it’s faster than satellite TV but slower than cable. Quality can vary, but is frequently HD (when available).

American TV: Free And Paid Plans

As I said: the channels you get for free probably aren’t what you’re looking for. If you’re looked into LiveStation, which lets you watch live TV news online Watch Streaming Live TV News Online with Livestation Watch Streaming Live TV News Online with Livestation Read More , you’ll find a similar lineup of news channels: Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, RT and CSPAN are a few examples. You’ll also find AntennaTV, which mostly airs reruns of black-and-white sitcoms.

This free package isn’t going to replace cable, or even an antenna, for most people – but the free version isn’t all that’s offered.

nimbletv-packages

There are two main kinds of paid plans for US viewers. There’s “lite”, which for $4 a month gives you online access to your existing cable service (limited to New York City residents as of this writing, with Chicago apparently coming soon).

If you don’t have cable, you can use the “Pro” service to pick from three bundles of channels: 20+ channels ($30 a month), 40+ channels ($60), or 90+ channels ($85). These are similar to cable bundles – disappointingly, there are no à la carte option. You can try this option out for one week, but you’ll need to provide your credit card number to do so.

All NimbleTV plans come with a minimum 20 Hour HD-DV – you can pay for additional recording time, and record up to four shows simultaneously.

I can’t break down all the options, and they’re subject to change, but here are a few highlights. The $30 package includes Comedy Central, History and MSNBC. The $60 package includes ESPN 1 and 2, Discovery and CNN. The $85 package is the cheapest one to include Fox News and SyFy. Whether this is worthwhile to you probably depends on which package includes the channels you most care about.

Things get even more expensive if you want to add premium channels: HBO’s bundle of channels alone will run you $20.

nimbletv-premium

NimbleTV’s access to cable stations can’t exactly be called cheap, but if you live in a region without cable competition it’s worth looking into for comparison’s sake. Even better: unlike cable, NimbleTV is not bound by region, meaning you can use this service to watch American TV from anywhere around the world.

nimbletv-nyc

Over the air stations are only offered if you have a valid New York City address (again, other cities are reportedly one the way).

IndianTV: Watch From Anywhere

If you’re Indian, or simply interested in Indian TV, there’s more to look into. You can get 20+ Indian TV channels for $15 a month.

nimbletv-india

Again, this isn’t restricted by region, meaning that with a subscription you can watch live Indian television regardless of where you live.

Supported Devices

NimbleTV primarily works using your browser. Here are the platforms their site claims to run on:

  • All major desktop browsers: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE (9+) and Opera
  • iPhone or iPad: iOS5 and higher (via browser)
  • Apple TV, via Airplay
  • Roku

nimbletv-platforms

Android, notably, is not supported. I primarily tested the service using Firefox on a desktop computer, so your mileage may vary with other devices.

Conclusion

We’ve told you before: you can watch TV online legally, for free Yes, You CAN Watch TV Online Legally & For Free Yes, You CAN Watch TV Online Legally & For Free Whether you’re thinking of cutting the cord or just want to watch TV on your own schedule instead of the television network’s, there are more legal ways to watch television online than ever. Even better,... Read More . NimbleTV lets you do some free TV watching, but is probably most useful with a paid account. Try the week free trial of the Pro version if you’re curious.

Whether that paid account is a good deal or not probably depends on what sort of deals your local cable companies are offering, which channels you care about. You’ll need to check how Nimble’s price compares to your local cable companies. You should also consider whether you prefer live television to the more affordable, on demand offerings provided by the likes of Netflix and Hulu.

How’s that math work out for you? Share your thoughts about this, and other options for watching TV online, below.

  1. Curtis
    June 26, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    How do they enforce the requirement to be a subscriber to local cable in NYC? Is it just the address I provide?

    • Justin P
      June 26, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      So far as I can tell, yes, but I didn't experiment.

  2. John S
    June 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    I live in Canada and enjoy British and American TV. We dropped cable when I found: ustvnow.com and Unotelly.com. I'm still paying less then I was for Cable and all I need is my internet which I would be paying for anyway. Livestation is also worth a look.

  3. Bud
    June 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Justin P, yeah my phone bill here is higher, but in the bigger picture, it all balances out and like you said previously, "You’re lucky: I wish there was a small independent option where I live, and trying to use an antenna sucks because of the mountains. Still, I’d rather spend time in the mountains than watching TV, so it all works out. :) " So I conclude, to each his own. :)))

  4. Bud
    June 18, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Justin P., I have basic internet services for $22.90 /month with 24/7 access all of the time. My phone bill ? Averages around $25.00 per, PLUS all of the undesired additional fees and taxes for $40.00 per for a current total of $63.00 per. Now say I chose one of the constant snail market offerings for a 2-year subscription, 1st year being the hook for $19.99 for 1 year only, my monthly costs would $83.00 . As soon as that 1st year ended my monthly costs could ballon to 29.99 or 34.99 for cable/dish. Now as stated previously, how many hours does one average watching TV and then taking that number and dividing it into actual monthly costs. Do you stay awake 24/7? No, of course not, plus the cable/dish networks only give you basic channels and a whole bunch of useless channels that YOU and others are paying for. Want more channels to watch? Then your monthly costs increase accordingly with more garbage channels you don't need or watch, but are still paying for............to each his own. My hard-earned dollars can be and are spent more wisely and efficiently.

    • Justin P
      June 19, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      I think you're paying too much for the phone! I pay $20 for everything, including my cell:

      http://justinpot.com/20-phone-plan/

      And personally, I don't even pay for cable, or NimbleTV – I just tried it out for the review, and thought some people might be interested. NHL Gamecenter is the only TV service I pay for, so I can watch my beloved Maple Leafs disappoint me.

      Maybe my phone setup wouldn't work for you. Fine: pay more if you think you're getting better service. Just know that some people feel the same way about TV, and are looking for options. That doesn't mean they're stupid, just that they have different priorities than you.

  5. Bud
    June 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Calm down you say ED, eh ? Cable /Dish/SatelliteTV IS a rip-off! Plain and simple. Try finding a cable company with basic services and then charges you say for example, a dollar or two for additional channels that YOU or I like, and NOT have a plethora of garbage TV forced down out throats (because it's politically correct ?) As for your claim to reduce your total costs to less than $90.00/month, it is still over-priced. You spend your hard-earned dollars (?) whatever way you see fit, I for one choose NOT to waste my retirement pension monies on the current and growing vast wasteland of TV. Do the actual math of all that you receive, the time you spend watching it, or using the net, etc., and I can guarantee your actual viewing costs will blow you away.......unless of course you are a 'zombie' that is awake 24/7............?
    To each his own............

    • Justin P
      June 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      It all depends what your baseline is. If you went out for a movie at the theatre every night, you'd pay $300 a month per person. Compared to that, cable is affordable.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okz4ruWUlvo

      Yeah, reading a book is a better deal per hour...but some people want TV. Also: I don't know what you pay for Internet, but for me that alonge would take up more than half of the $90/month – and my connection's not great.

  6. Nancy B
    June 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Just checked this out and I live in Canada.
    It is available BUT the FREE channels are only about 4 but as it's raining right now could only get Bloomberg TV on but when I tried switching to another channel lost it too.
    On the menu checked the channels available which are alot But again you have to pay for them and the Free selection is very limited.
    As one who has cut the cable, if I wanted to pay this much for channels I'd go back to even basic cable, which then at least I'd get all the major networks and about 10 other entertainment channels included with Bell Fib OP which I liked the best of our choices available.
    Think I'll stick with projectfreetv.com but thanks for giving us the info and another choice if you want to pay.

  7. Tom
    June 17, 2014 at 2:42 am

    If anyone has a tablet or phone (Android) with HDMI out. Check out a app called Mobdro. Works well. Plenty of content. One time fee....

    • Justin P
      June 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      I'll be sure to check that out!

  8. James W
    June 16, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    This costs more than my local cable company charges. I added the channels I get on cable with DVR and premiums like HBO and it came to $90 a month. I pay $65 for the same thing from Charter.

    • Justin P
      June 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      It's certainly going to vary for everyone, I just see it as another option. I wonder if those prices will go down as the service establishes itself.

  9. Robert J
    June 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    There are a number of ways to watch television for free, Projectfreetv,comees to mind.Why would you pay anything to have your eyeballs sold to advertisers.Watch less, walk more and eat right...Robert

  10. Bud
    June 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    This is just another money-making SCAM ! Aveo is already doing this and being sued for stealing proprietary TV from networks and cable TV. Until the FCC (Federal Communications) allows for free access and the Federal Courts approve it, it's a waste of monies and not as FREE as projected, even the so-called packages are higher with MUCH LESS channels to view ! This IS the penultimate BOGUS article here and a disgusting waste of my time !!! Now I seriously wonder about the legitimacy of posters here writing praises about it?

    • Ed
      June 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Which posters are praising the service? Not I (see my review at the top). NimbleTV, unlike Aereo, is not questioned on its legality because the content they stream is from Dish Network, through a partnership.

      Though I consider the product to be BETA and certainly has a great number of issues, it saves me a ton of money. My internet/TV bill from TWC was $150 per month. Now my combined internet, NimbleTV, Amazon Prime is less than $90 per month and gives me everything I need.

      Calm down :)

    • Justin P
      June 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Charging money for access to cable stations is a money making scam? What's the alternative?

      Aerro only provides access to signals you can get over the air already – this service does somethign similar, but for cable stations. I'm not saying it's for everyone, or even trying to praise it, just pointing out that the option exists for those who might want it.

      I'm hoping the FCC sides with Aerro, because I'm sure the result will be a lot more free online TV for everyone. But that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the paid options that exist. Should I?

  11. Xoandre
    June 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I just attempted to register, but Nimble TV requires people in the USA to have a PAID CABLE SUBSCRIPTION in order to register.

    What is the point of that?

    • Justin P
      June 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      You need a paid cable plan for the lite plan, but not the pro or the free.

  12. bben
    June 14, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Useless. My local cable co is a small independent that has a 25 year monopoly contract with the local city government. They also have the Cable Internet monopoly. Their customer service is actually not bad when compared to certain huge cable companies. But services like Nimble will pass on this market as it is not in a major metro area. They just don't want to deal with us because of the scale. I already get a dozen local channels using an over the air antenna. So their free service is not even attractive to me.

    • Justin P
      June 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      You're lucky: I wish there was a small independent option where I live, and trying to use an antenna sucks because of the mountains. Still, I'd rather spend time in the mountains than watching TV, so it all works out. :)

  13. Ed
    June 14, 2014 at 3:09 am

    As a Nimble TV subscriber for the past 3 months, I can honestly say this product is BETA quality at best.

    Firstly, if you currently have cable such as TWC, the $4 per month subscription allows you to watch your TWC from anywhere if TWC works with Nimble TV on this service (as I understand it). I can't comment as to how well this scenario works.

    I am a cord-cutter. I ditched TWC (I live in NYC) when internet and TV hit $150/month. For about 4 months, I had Aereo at $12/month for 60 hours of DVR (recording 2 shows at once) and all NYC local channels. All my other shows from cable and premium channels come from Amazon Prime or other services. Aereo was a great service with no down time that I can remember, very good resolution, and a DVR service that worked just as good as a physical DVR in the home. I was completely satisfied with the service.

    The wife wanted her Food Network, so I stopped Aereo and moved to Nimble TVs $30 service (all fees and taxes included in this price). I get well over 30 channels (haven't counted, but maybe 50) that include NYC local channels and channels such as Food Network, History, HGTV, MSNBC, Comedy Central and many more. The channel selection is fine for $30 per month, plus 20 hour DVR and recording 4 shows at once (20 hours of HD or SD, doesn't matter).

    That's where the good deal ends for me. Here are my weekly issues over the past 3 months of having Nimble TV:
    - DVR will not allow you to start watching a show that is currently recording. You have to wait for the recording to finish.
    - DVR does not allow you to set how many minutes before or how many minutes after to record a show past its scheduled broadcast time (the system automatically starts recording 2 minutes before the show begins and ends 2 minutes after the show ends in response to not controlling this manually).
    - The high quality LIVE streaming buffers every 30 seconds or so on a 20 megabit connection, making it very frustrating to watch live TV. I have to set it to "normal" streaming, which is not fantastic on a large HDTV. Mind you, Aereo, Netflix, and Amazon Prime stream fine at their highest settings, but not Nimble TV. DVR recorded shows do not buffer and stream fine.
    - There are service interruptions about every 10 days. They seem to have near weekly power outages at their data center. This prevents watching live or recorded TV.
    - Shows don't always record. I always have a few shows per week that show as recorded, but will not play.
    - The TV service is provided by Dish Network. So the quality is subject to all the issues that come along with having a satellite TV provider. Rain, snow, high winds, etc. will interrupt your service or pixelate your show.

    To their credit, I always get a quick and courteous response when emailing tech support. Lily O'Neil is a great customer service person. Unfortunately, it does not make the service any better. If Aereo wins their court case, I would love to just go back to Aereo even with their limited channel lineup.

    In the 3 months that I've had them, the quality of the service has not improved at all.

    • Justin P
      June 16, 2014 at 12:38 am

      Thanks for the depth of this comment. We'll see how the Aereo case goes, eh?

    • dave65465783
      July 5, 2014 at 4:48 am

      I've been playing around with nimbletv too, it's definitely of a very beta quality as well

      re: one of your criticisms, at least on my Roku, there appears to be semi-intuitive work-around for one of your issues

      "- DVR will not allow you to start watching a show that is currently recording. You have to wait for the recording to finish."

      I think, if you schedule a show to record and want to start watching it while it is recording from an earlier point - try to access it from the "on right now" section and then rewind as opposed to the recordings section - that seems to address that issue... i think...

      overall, it's a shame aereo was taken down by the supreme court - shame our country is gradually degrading...

    • dave65465783
      July 7, 2014 at 4:48 am

      dave65465783 chiming in again

      my observation re: a workaround for the roku desire to watch from the beginning of a recording show is wrong - nimbleTV is barely worth using over just bunny ears on my extra tv... i bet they only have 1 or 2 programmers (def not "software engineers" -- their product feels like an afterthought overall)

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