Bamboom is the latest company that’s promising to deliver live, over-the-air broadcasts to your computer, smartphone, or tablet for a fee. But unlike companies such as FilmOn which are simply capturing live broadcasts from local TV stations and re-broadcasting them en masse over the internet and risking major lawsuits along the way, Bamboom thinks its service is completely legal.

That’s because Bamboom will assign each customer their own antenna. In theory, it’s offering the same experience you would get if you went out and bought an antenna and stuck it on top of your TV or your rooftop. The difference is that a Bamboom antenna is stored at the company’s headquarters and packed tightly with thousands of other antennas. Bamboom then hooks up your antenna to the internet, allowing you to stream live broadcasts to a PC or mobile device.

You won’t get cable programs this way. But Bamboom could eventually offer a DVR service, allowing you to record shows for later viewing. The company is also bundling Netflix service so that you can fire up the Bamboom app and either watch live TV or view thousands of movies or TV programs available from Netflix.

The app will also include social features, letting you chat with other users while you’re watching live television.

There’s no word on how much service will cost yet, but All Things D reports that basic service might be free while Bamboom could charge for premium features such as DVR access or Netlflix.

It’s interesting to see how companies are skirting existing laws by essentially replicating your home media setup on remote servers. Can’t rebroadcast TV over the internet? Fine, we’ll just set up remote TV tuners and antennas. Can’t host master copies of millions of songs online and allow customers to stream tracks they’ve already ripped from CDs over the web? Fine, we’ll offer customers the chance to upload their entire collections to the web.

The silly thing is this is clearly a huge waste of resources. Companies such as Amazon, Google, and mSpot which offer cloud-based music lockers are dedicating huge amounts of storage space for files that could just as easily be hosted once. And there’s really no physical reason that a company such as Bamboom should need hundreds of thousands of antennas when the company really could offer the same service using far fewer resources. It’s just the legal requirements that are leading to these acrobatics… even though for end users the service would be pretty much the same either way.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

2 replies on “Bamboom wants to bring live, broadcast TV to your phone, tablet, PC”

  1. I would like to point out 1 minor “flaw” with your reasoning…When you say “Companies such as Amazon, Google, and mSpot
    which offer cloud-based music lockers are dedicating huge amounts of
    storage space for files that could just as easily be hosted once.”

    In these cases, at least with a moderately competent admin, which I’m assuming Amazon, Google, etc will have, they will be using deduplication in their storage farm.  For example, take Amazon’s recent sale of the Lady Gaga album.  They sold an estimated 1 million copies, and the album is approximately 120MB.  However, they are not dedicating 120 million MB (120TB, if my math is right) to store these files for everyone.

    Their storage farm will see duplicate data and only store 1 copy, while maintaining pointers to this data from each user’s account.  So, realistically, they are only storing 120MB + whatever minimal space requirements to maintain links from each person’s accounts to this data.

    This isn’t done on a file-level, though.  It’s done by blocks of data.  So, theoretically, your Word file could get “mashed” up with someone else’s MP3 file, and yet again someone else’s kitty porn.  If there is a block of data that is similar across each of these files, it’ll only get stored once, with a pointer to that block.

    For a little more info, see:

  2. That’s true for files that Amazon is *selling*… but not for files that users are uploading from their own hard drives. What I’m talking about is the Amazon Cloud Drive service which allows users to upload their own music collections. 

    Amazon hasn’t negotiated rights to stream master copies of these files from the record labels, the company is basically going with a storage locker model where they’re simply providing a dedicated space for users to store their own files online and stream them. 

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