The battle for the living room is a pretty intense one these days, and if the video discovery startup Fanhattan has anything to do with it, it’ll soon get even more so.
|Fan TV’s sexy new streaming box plots living room invasion|
Fanhattan, which is pretty well known in the US for its iPhone TV navigation app, has just announced an innovative new set-top box that combines the best bits of TV, VOD and DVR, whilst allowing viewers to access all of their favorite streams. The device will be branded as the “Fan”, and shows off an innovative new take on live TV and video streaming services.
The first thing you’ll notice about Fan TV is its highly distinctive remote control, which features absolutely no buttons at all. A sleek looking ergonomic square that measures about 2 x 2 inches, Fanhattan says that the remote was inspired by the Apple iPad, and allows for intuitive control of everything on your TV by swiping with your fingers.
As for the box, which will sit under the TV, this serves to place Fan TV’s user interface on your smart TV. Using the remote, viewers can then swipe between channels and TV menu options, browsing through different categories of programmes like comedies, dramas, sports and movies. It also comes with a search function, so for example, viewers could enter “Eastenders” and Fan would pull up all the channels and streaming services where that programme is available to watch.
Aside from the intuitive controls, what’s unusual about Fan TV is it won’t be for sale. Rather than offering the device to consumers, Fanhattan is planning to approach satellite and cable TV companies, which will provide the hardware directly to their own customers. The idea is that pay TV broadcasters will want to include Fan as an added bonus in their own packages, something that might just convince them to win over customers from their rivals. Certainly, it’s an business model that might just help Fan to compete with more established services like Apple TV and Roku.
As well as negotiating with Pay TV broadcasters, Fanhattan says that its trying to secure deals for all the essential video streaming options that rivals like Roku have – for example, Netflix, YouTube and Amazon’s LoveFilm.
Fanhattan’s ultimate goal is to replace all consumer set-top boxes by running live TV directly through its own interface. The idea is a compelling one, allows viewers a simple way to search through all of their video options, but it’s also highly ambitious. As mentioned above, the competition in the living room is extremely intense – just this week Roku announced it had secured close to £40 million in funding to fuel its own expansion plans.
Fan TV is expected to launch later this year, but it hasn’t yet said when it might be available in the UK.