Fan TV: Another Day, Another Box


Fanhattan has just announced their dramatic transformation from web service into living room set-top.

Fan TV is our answer to the future of TV and our vision – to make engaging with your favorite movies and shows simpler and more magical – realized. Fan TV brings your entertainment life together in one place: Live TV, cloud DVR, and streaming.

Based on the press release and seemingly conflicting coverage, it’s not quite clear if this well-rounded streamer (both figuratively and literally) will be distributed through retail channels or in partnership with service providers. Or perhaps they’re contemplating a hybrid approach as Boxee (via Comcast) and TiVo (via CableCARD) are pursuing. Regardless, we may not find out until later this year when the Yves Béhar-designed, Android-powered Fan TV arrives. And hopefully their fortunes will be more Roku than ZillionTV.

On the design front, the Fan TV sales pitch (embedded below) is mostly compelling with attractive hardware and a pleasant interface – comprised of both live television and video streaming. But, I wonder if their position on the form-versus-function spectrum is out of whack with what looks to be a 100% touch-based remote. The ill-fated Sezmi design decision to do away with numeric buttons wasn’t well received and I found GlideTV unnatural and limiting. But we’ll be ready to take a look with an open mind once Fan TV launches. Stay tuned.


Update: Looks like Cox Communications broadband customers in Los Angeles will get first crack at FanTV under the “watchFlare” name. 97 channels of live IPTV and cloud DVR are in, over-the-top services like Netflix and Hulu are out – with the service running $35/month. Cox portrays this as a “small trial” and any broader deployment is dependent on uptake and feedback.

8 thoughts on “Fan TV: Another Day, Another Box”

  1. Content providers are willing to partner with hardware creators that will position their content alongside content of its competitors? Interesting. Wonder why TiVo hasn’t been trying this for 10 years…

  2. I like Todd so much more since he’s shifted from being an execrable NTCA flack to being an honorable Variety reporter.

    MSO’s nix hicks’ flicks box…

  3. I want to believe that video. I want to believe that it will be better than Google TV, Boxee, Roku, Tivo, and Windows Media Center combined. I want to believe.

  4. I want to believe too. Unfortunately, I have to agree with the Varienty reporters’ points of view. I just can’t see how they’ll ever bring their dream (which is my dream too) to reality.

  5. Yeah, same opinion here. TiVo only succeeds because they strip all those OTT services off at the MSO’s request. And don’t require any changes to the way the cable co distributes programming. You want us to use CableCARDs? Okay, great. The Fan TV doesn’t even have a coax input as far as I can see. Certainly not a CableCARD slot? Does it even support MPEG-2? Now, I suppose there’s a backdoor possibility these days using an in-home gateway product and the protocol that Boxee got cable to agree to somehow for in-home IP distribution.

    But like Todd I doubt the cable co’s really want somebody to take over their Guide. They LIKE that you have to look at all those channels in the order they put them. Rather than just the five channels you watch or god forbid, just show titles with no channel identification at all. And of course the ads they get money for.

    They want you to see all the channels you could watch if you were only paying for that other tier. They want you to see all the channels you are getting when you pay your ridiculous monthly fee so you feel a little better about it. Etc.

    And like Todd says they’d rather you paid them to watch “A Good Day to Die Hard” rather than paying Walmart to rent it on Vudu, or watch something else for free on Netflix, or whatever.

    Sure they’re fine with offering Pandora. But don’t go crazy. This thing has no shot.

    Does look cool though.

  6. It’s not the MVPDs who want you to see those channels in order or know what network a certain show is on: it’s the networks themselves – they are very worried about the loss of brand identity.

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