Light Reading
Fan TV is officially breaking into the cable business through a deal with Time Warner Cable that will bring the vendor's user interface to TWC video subscribers.

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
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...
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business – Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
Salary Survey Report 2014
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed