Light Reading

Fan TV Scores With TW Cable

Mari Silbey
4/22/2014
50%
50%

After a false start last year, Fan TV is officially breaking into the cable business. In a new deal with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Fan TV will bring its unique user interface to TWC subscribers. The agreement marries Time Warner Cable's linear TV and video-on-demand services with the Fan TV set-top box, user interface, and buttonless touch remote control. Fan TV will also support streaming services at launch, including Redbox Instant by Verizon, Crackle, Target Ticket, and Rhapsody.

Time Warner Cable customers can pre-order Fan TV today for $99. The product is scheduled to ship later in the second quarter.

Fan TV surprised many last year when it morphed from being a web-based app provider to offering its solution, complete with hardware and a TV UI. The company's app, originally branded under the name Fanhattan, integrates program guide information across pay-TV and over-the-top video services in a way designed to make it easier for users to discover and navigate content options. The Fan TV solution also goes much further, transferring navigation to the primary screen and packaging the experience with a unique remote control that relies solely on motion and touch. (See Fan TV Courts Cable for New Box.)

Unlike other TV hardware and software start-ups, Fan TV never intended to offer its solution as a retail-only product. Instead, the company has always aimed to partner with pay-TV providers. Last summer Fan TV ran a trial with Cox Communications Inc. in Orange County, Calif., which appeared to be a positive sign that the technology could gain some traction. The trial ended quickly, however, and little information was shared publicly about the results. (See Cox Flirts With Fanhattan.)

Fan TV CEO Gilles BianRosa told Light Reading that much has changed since the experiment with Cox. "It was a lot of work because it's a very new model," said BianRosa. "We're very happy that it actually did take a while because this is, it's one of those game-changing partnerships that it doesn't matter if you're first to market, you need to be the best to market."

BianRosa said that among the improvements to Fan TV, live TV is now always in the background of the UI, so that users can scan other services without disrupting the live feed. Previously, linear television was just one tab on the Fan TV menu. The company has also added a pausing feature for live TV that wasn't present during the Cox trial.

Mike Angus, general manager and senior vice president of video for TWC, has been a longtime Fan TV fan. Although he couldn't comment on any specific company plans at the time, Angus told us last fall, "I love their product… You put that experience front and center on a device like that -- that's what customers who are buying cable want. That's where they watch the overwhelming majority of their content, and it's an intuitive way to bridge the CE and pay-TV world." (See TWC's Mike Angus Unplugged.)

The Fan TV partnership also falls in line with Time Warner Cable's strategy to place its content on as many devices as possible. TWC has apps for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, as well as the Roku, Xbox 360, Samsung smart TVs, and Kindle Fire HD.

The Fan TV deal is somewhat different, because the integrated UI is fully branded around the Time Warner Cable service. However, Angus said in a more recent interview, "It really is the same process for us, and it's the same content that we make available. It just has a different look and feel in terms of presentation to the customer."

Time Warner Cable and Fan TV will also offer integrated customer support. Details on marketing and promotion are now being worked out.

BianRosa said he sees other opportunities in the cable industry beyond Time Warner Cable, but noted that he's learned that "cable companies want to move at their own pace." He also said his company will focus a lot of its resources in the near future on making the TWC deployment successful.

He should be particularly happy about the timing of the Time Warner Cable deal, given the proposed pending acquisition by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). In contrast to TWC, Comcast has focused heavily on offering its own advanced hardware, rather than spreading its service to numerous third-party devices.

However, Angus pointed out, "I think if you look across the industry, especially even over the last six to twelve months, there's been a lot more folks who are really starting to embrace this world of alternate devices for customer consumption… While I wouldn't go so far as to call it mainstream… I think that others really are starting to look at this as not really a competitive or customer fragmentation, but rather how do we embrace the customer and deliver the experiences that continue to deliver value for the subscription that they have with us."

As part of a larger Comcast entity, it's hard to say if Time Warner Cable would have taken a chance on Fan TV. But Angus, at least, believes the entire industry is becoming more flexible in how it defines the cable TV experience.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/22/2014 | 6:29:35 PM
Sounds like Apple vs. PC
"He should be particularly happy about the timing of the Time Warner Cable deal, given the proposed pending acquisition by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). In contrast to TWC, Comcast has focused heavily on offering its own advanced hardware, rather than spreading its service to numerous third-party devices."

I'm not quite sure how to react to this.  IBM went the third party route, and thus PC's were the bulk of market share compared to Apple.  If that was still the case I'd say that the Time Warner Cable deal was the smart move.  Considering Apple's power these days I'm not so sure.  My gut says that the third party is what will get the ball rolling though -- it happened with VHS and again with PC's.  So going by history, TW Cable's making a strong play.  And yet Apple showed that control has its perks too...
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Goes Mobile With vEPC

7|2|15   |   1:12   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Gabriel Brown discusses results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade that shows a clear commitment by mobile operators to move quickly to virtual EPC deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Business Sense of SDN

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Results of a Brocade-sponsored survey show that CSPs have a clear sense of SDN use cases but are wrestling with the business case. Sterling Perrin of Heavy Reading looks behind the numbers.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

7|2|15   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Forget the usual ten-year cycle for new technologies – NFV will be a core part of CSP networks in five years, based on results of a Brocade-sponsored survey, says Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Gains Traction With CSPs

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading analyzes results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade showing that CSPs are getting serious about making the transition to the New IP era.
LRTV Custom TV
It's (Real) Time for Analytics

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges looks at how CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of The New IP, based on results of a survey sponsored by Brocade.
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (7) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (1) comment


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/30/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones