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.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCjFNWng_hk&w=580]
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.