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Has Dish cut off nimbleTV?

Test pattern on old TV before clouds

© DepositPhotos / Xavier Gallego Morell

You remember that when I last wrote about nimbleTV, I told you about this great new service that allows out-of-market viewers to subscribe to a pay TV service over the internet. At that time, the only service it offered was Dish Network. Now it appears nimbleTV doesn’t even have that.

Although I can’t get anyone to comment on the record about it, what I do know suggests that Dish abruptly cut off nimbleTV last Friday. If that’s true, it could have been because Dish’s programming partners pressured Dish to stop service to out-of-market viewers. Or it could have been that Dish didn’t like how nimbleTV can combine the output of several receivers to any given customer. Or it could have been a Dish billing hiccup when its system noticed all the subscribers with out-of-market service addresses. Or it could be something completely different.

One thing I’ve heard repeatedly from nimbleTV is that it plans (hopes?) to restore service in about two weeks. Does that mean that nimbleTV is negotiating with Dish to restore service? That it’s scrambling to find another programming source? That it has another source already lined up, and that it’ll take about two weeks to swap out all those receivers and change nimbleTV’s programming database? That Dish promised to fix its billing hiccup in about two weeks? Or that suggesting a fixed length of time keeps customers happier when you’re working to solve an open-ended problem?

Here’s the timeline of what I know. On Friday, nimbleTV went off the air for some subscribers, perhaps all of them. Then Friday afternoon, nimbleTV sent out an email that said in part, “nimbleTV is currently undergoing system maintenance and upgrades owing to unforeseen circumstances. … Our team is working hard to restore the service and we hope to be out of maintenance soon.”

Saturday evening, nimbleTV sent out a longer note. It included the understatement, “The maintenance period is going to last longer than expected.” The email also included the first real hint of what happened: “We have found that a billing change in the TV provider’s portion of the charge has affected a number of our subscribers. Your account seems to have been affected by this as well. We are working with the TV provider to resolve such issues going forward. It may take up to two weeks for the billing issue to resolve completely and for service to be restored.”

Sunday afternoon, nimbleTV sent out a shorter recap, primarily emphasizing that it will issue refunds to affected subscribers. “The reason for these issues is due to the TV provider putting a hold on your service, we are investigating the reason behind the un-notified hold.”

Since then, I’ve been asking everyone I know at Dish and nimbleTV for further comment, and all I can get are reiterations of the same information. Heck, I can’t even get anyone from nimbleTV to say the word “Dish”. For example, nimbleTV’s PR guy told me that their official statement is “nimbleTV is aware of service issues which some users are experiencing and is in the process of addressing them.” He wouldn’t say anything else.

Thank goodness for Twitter; searching it shows that I’m not alone. Several other users are reporting the same stuff I’m seeing. One tweeted, “hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for the service.” As long as nimbleTV refuses to tell the world what’s wrong, all we’re left to do is imagine the worst.

Update: A commenter helpfully pointed to a tweet by Dish Retailer News (@RetailerNews) from July 10: “Retailers- Important RetailerNews regarding NimbleTV. Please read” a password-protected link. Hmm.

5 comments to Has Dish cut off nimbleTV?

  • Nimbletv User

    I’m patiently waiting for another update from NimbleTV. In the meantime, have you noticed this on Twitter?

    DISH Retailer News ‏@RetailerNews 10 Jul
    Retailers- Important RetailerNews regarding NimbleTV. Please read http://ow.ly/mPy5d

    It links to https://dishportal.dish.com/ I wonder if we can get a retailer to release the details to us and see what Dish is saying about NimbleTV

  • Joe

    Doesn’t Dish Slingbox already allow their customers to do what Nimble is/was doing? I guess I don’t understand why anyone would setup a subscription from a non-affiliated 3rd party provider when they can go to Dish direct and do this themselves. I must be missing something…

    • mrdrivein

      Hi Joe! Dish Slingbox is wonderful, but different. What nimbleTV provided was: a way to get a subscription (and locals) at a location you’ve never been, plus an infinite number of tuners, plus no separate DVR fee.

      If you and a distant buddy could set up Dish accounts for each other, you’d have something closer to nimbleTV. But where are you going to find a buddy like that?

  • john

    hey did anyone ever get a look at that dish retailer letter?

    • mrdrivein

      I never saw it, but I suspect it was based on Dish’s official statement later: “NimbleTV is not an authorized Dish retailer, and is not authorized by Dish to market or promote our services.”

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