Next month, U.S.-based subscribers to FilmOn Labs will receive a belated free holiday gift: the FilmOn AIR that will allow them to watch local network TV on their computers and mobile devices.
FilmOn Labs is a Beverly Hills-based division of FilmOn.com PLC, which touts itself as “the world’s first Internet-based HD virtual cable-TV service. The FilmOn AIR device, which retails for almost $150, plugs into iOS or Android smartphones and tablets, or into Mac- or Windows-based computers. It then tunes into over-the-air ATSC digital signals already being transmitted by the networks and other local broadcasters.
The FilmOn App contains 120 online HD channels, and the next generation (available next month) will contain the FilmOn AIR tuning application; it will be available for free downloading in the Apple App Store or the Droid Market Place. The FilmOn App also offers an electronic programming guide that lets users set a reminder for their favorite TV shows.
“In 2010, FilmOn ended up in an ongoing legal battle with all four of the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox) over FilmOn’s right to carry their signals over the Internet,” says Alki David, FilmOn’s CEO and founder. “The case is ongoing, and FilmOn expects to settle the dispute this year.”
According to David, FilmOn also has launched its own college-sports and live-soccer channels but the challenge has been in legally bringing major network programming into its lineup “while respecting the networks’ traditional business models.”