Cox Communications is piloting an IPTV service in Orange County, California that combines cable television with Fanhattan’s Fan TV set-top and user interface. Todd Spangler at Variety broke the news about flareWatch late last week, and Cox has since confirmed the trial and Fanhattan partnership. Spokesperson Todd Smith says:
Cox is testing a video service with a unique user interface as part of a small trial in our Orange County, California market… We are early in the trial, but expect the product and experience could evolve during the trial based on customer feedback.
The big news here is the fact that Cox is bundling online TV service with a broadband connection rather than tagging it on to a traditional cable package. Beta pricing is listed at only $34.99 per month, and that includes big-name channels like ESPN and Disney.
However, the other interesting angle is Cox’s use of the Fanhattan UI. Forget the sweet little Fan TV box for the moment, Fanhattan has somehow succeeded on the software front where so many other start-ups have failed. It’s gotten a foot in the door with cable, and it’s done so without years of heartache and litigation. (Ahem TiVo, Boxee…)
I like Fanhattan. The TV guide app’s been plugging along since 2011 and getting better along the way. But what makes it so much better than a thousand other video discovery and aggregation apps?
Maybe it’s a case of good timing, or maybe Fanhattan has friends at Cox. Whatever the case, the accomplishment is significant. Fanhattan is playing with the big boys.