May 31, 2013
Forthcoming Fan TV Touted As Easy-To-Use, All-In-One TV/Streaming Video Device
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
A Silicon Valley company has unveiled a new set-top box that they claim will streamline the television-viewing process by compiling viewing options from multiple content providers, offering complete programming guides and providing easy-to-use remote controls.San Mateo, California-based Fanhattan unveiled their Fan TV device Thursday, and according to Jon Healey of the Los Angeles Times, the receiver is “a potential breakthrough in function and design.”
The device, which was unveiled as part of the D11 technology conference, has a leg-up on similar offerings like Apple TV and Roku by interacting with an existing cable or satellite TV service, said Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch.
“Actually, that´s a key part of Fan´s value proposition, as well as its plans to go to market. More than just a device for streaming Netflix or Hulu Plus, the search and discovery piece of Fan TV will be used to give users the ability to find their favorite programs on live TV, as well as discover new shows,” he said.
When compared to the “squat, industrial set-top boxes that cable and satellite companies distribute,” Healey said that Fan TV is “polished and rounded like a river stone or something out of a Zen garden.” Likewise, USA Today´s Mike Snider said that Fan TV comes with a “sexy, sleek remote control that makes it easier to manage your entertainment options.”
More importantly, however, Snider said that the set-top box would feature an “easy-to-search interface” which would feature programming choices available on the user´s cable or satellite television service, as well as online companies such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.com. Essentially, he said, Fan TV would be “a cloud-based content locker” that replaces traditional cable boxes, satellite receivers or DVRs.
In a statement, the company said that they were hoping to eliminate the need to own (and search through content options) on multiple devices by combining DVR, live television and streaming services in one box. They also said that their goal was to create the “simplest remote imaginable” by creating a touch-screen input device that functions similar to smartphones and tablets.
“Fan TV provides access to a universal ℠queue,´ or watchlist, of programming from all services,” VentureBeat´s Tom Cheredar explained. “It also has a universal search feature that gives you all the options for where you can watch a particular movie or TV show episode. Once you´ve found what you´d like to watch, Fan TV pushes you directly to the program — thus opening up a separate app (such as Netflix or Hulu Plus) or pushing you directly to the program that´s already in progress via live TV.”
Fanhattan reportedly plans to partner with pay TV operators in order to make Fan TV available to customers, Lawler said. Due to that business model, however, Healey explains that the company will not have the opportunity to test the market until it can convince those pay TV firms to support the project.
However, the company ultimately does intend to offer the device through retailers. While they have not officially disclosed the price to purchase the set-top box, Cheredar predicts that Fan TV will cost approximately the same to rent each month as a cable box — approximately $10 to $15 per month.