After launching an extremely limited beta one year ago, NimbleTV is today opening its streaming cable service to everyone in the metro New York area. Unlike Aereo and its controversial business approach, NimbleTV is trying to play nice with cable providers. The company's innovative model is centered around datacenters full of cable boxes; NimbleTV customers pay for TV service just as they would with an ordinary cable subscription. The end result is the same; once you've signed up for NimbleTV, you can watch (and record) live TV from anywhere. "Our goal is to make TV easy again for consumers, while doing it in a way that supports the industry," said CEO Anand Subramanian in a statement. "Our approach simply improves existing pay TV – it does not displace it."

Use your existing cable subscription, or let NimbleTV sign you up

You're given two choices for getting started. The first involves authenticating an existing subscription from Time Warner Cable, FiOS, Cablevision, or RCN. If you're already a paying customer, NimbleTV will let you add its services for low monthly fees that start at $3.99. But unfortunately, this option limits you to just 24 channels. (Higher tiers simply get you more cloud DVR storage.) All local networks (NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS) are accounted for, so it's not a bad option if you're looking for the absolute basics.

Nimble

Option two is aimed at consumers who don't yet have a cable subscription. Here, NimbleTV’s "concierge service" will sign you up for one of several TV packages from a local provider. You get far more channels going this route: the lowest package includes over 30, with the highest offering more than 96 channels (50 of which are in HD). But as you'd expect, pricing here is significantly more expensive. There are three monthly plans to pick from, and they go for $29.98, $54.98, and $79.98 respectively. If those sound like cable prices, it's because you're effectively paying for a cable subscription.

But again, NimbleTV's appeal is that it will let you watch your programming anywhere and across numerous devices. The company supports most popular desktop and mobile web browsers, though you can't watch via Android yet. But iOS is there, and NimbleTV also has an app on Roku's set-top box platform. To eliminate any confusion about its unique model, NimbleTV says that existing cable subscribers will get their first month free, while customers signing up through its concierge service will get one week of risk-free viewing.