Here We Go Again: Broadcast TV on the Internet

I think I’ve seen this movie before; it’s the one where a company thinks it has a legal way to capture over-the-air broadcast signals and then make them available to customers to stream the live content over the Internet. This story ended badly for Ivi and FilmOn within the past year, but here comes another knight in technology armor, ready to take a turn at jousting with this windmill.

The latest player is Bamboom, a startup that has not yet launched. Here are the company’s three principles, according to its website:

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

Their approach is to have a massive array of tiny antennas located where they can get good reception. Each subscriber to the service is assigned their own individual antenna, and that signal is made available to them over the Internet. This is different from the FilmOn and Ivi approach that captured the signals from a single location and then distributed them to customers. (Ivi’s failing argument was that was simply providing a community antenna service, just like a cable company.) Bamboom apparently has convinced some folks that they have a design that will stand up to a legal challenge, as the company has already raised $4.5 million from investors. Here’s more about their plans in a company video:

We’ll know more once the service is up and running, but this could be an attractive alternative to cable or satellite if you have a broadband data connection, especially in fringe reception areas.