Fanhattan made a left turn last week when it launched its answer to the living room rat’s nest: the Fan TV set -top box.
Fanhattan, which is known for its exceptional content aggregating app and browser site, has rebranded itself as Fan TV. CEO and founder Gilles BianRosa unveiled the box at the AllThingsD conference.
Fan TV’s Sleek Box and Remote
A Cordless Set Top Box
The box and remote are sleek, small and round, designed by Yves Behar. There is only one input, for the TV screen. When BianRosa said the company will be launching the box with a pay TV service provider, he wasn’t kidding. The box, as it is designed now, won’t be released without having a partner for linear TV. It’s not a standalone streaming media player, it’s more like a sleek and slightly more encompassing TiVo.
The box comes with a cloud DVR, and apps – much like TiVo already has – for OTT services. It surfaces VoD offerings alongside the OTT offerings and linear TV, allowing the user to easily move between content worlds to find something to watch.
Navigate and Search Across Content Sources
We assume the interface will utilize the search and recommendation service that users have been enjoying with the Fanhattan app and Web browser, which has now opened up to the public. Content can be searched by genre, format, actor, etc. and probably searches will yield results across content sources such as VoD, linear TV and OTT services.
We don’t know which OTT services will be available on the box. The Fanhattan app searches across 29 sources from Hulu, iTunes and Netflix to network sites that offer full episodes of shows.
Don’t Forget the Buttonless Remote
The remote isn’t much more than a track pad. It has no buttons whatsoever; instead, the user swipes across the pad with a thumb to navigate the interface, and it was designed so that the user doesn’t have to look at the remote. During the demo, BianRosa showed off commerce bonus features that enabled the user to view and purchase movie-related merchandise and listen to a soundtrack through a music service.
The demo video also shows that users will be able to access and manage the entertainment services through an iPad app and probably through the browser as well.
What is missing from the demo was text input. We’ll assume that the interface does allow users to type into the search and recommendation engine, so the user will probably have to use the swiping motion in the button-less remote to navigate an on-screen keyboard to type in a name or title.
Several Questions about Fan TV Future
There are still a number of unknowns about the Fan TV box: ….
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