About a year after its launch, Fan TV has snared a big cable operator to push out its live TV and streaming content service--at least for the time being. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) said that it will launch Fan TV to its video subscribers starting in the second quarter of this year. As with all things TWC, however, that could be subject to change if and when Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) acquires the nation's second biggest MSO for $45.2 billion.
Fan TV uses a small set-top box to allow viewers to move between live linear content and streaming video from such sources as Redbox Instant by Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Crackle and Target Ticket and audio from streaming music provider Rhapsody. Time Warner Cable is taking pre-orders from customers with shipments expected in the second quarter of 2014 for a one-time purchase of $99 and no additional subscription contracts or fees, the MSO said.
"The Fan TV experience is a leap forward for the cable industry," TWC's Senior Vice President and General Manager of Video Mike Angus said in a press release. "Fan TV is the perfect marriage of the compelling content we at Time Warner Cable bring to customers and the complementary services available to consumers, delivering both in a rich experience for seamless entertainment."
The service, he added, fills a niche for subscribers who are "increasingly watching their entertainment across live TV, VOD and streaming" by pulling it all together in "an intuitive product."
That product especially changes the way people find content, said Fan TV CEO Gilles BianRosa.
"Today, discovery is backwards; you're narrowing your options by first picking a device, then an app, then shuffling through a limited content library. Fan TV brings together live TV, video-on-demand and streaming services in one simplified discovery experience," BianRosa said.
It's unclear what will happen to TWC's services if Comcast is successful in acquiring the company. Neither Time Warner Cable--which continues to make non-Comcast-specific announcements--nor Comcast has addressed which services and products will be deemed synergistic in a newly merged company. Comcast has reportedly discussed bringing in Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) as a streaming partner, although company executives have not addressed that issue publicly.
Time Warner Cable is not the first MSO to try out the Fan TV experience. Cox Communications launched a short trial of what it called its FlareWatch virtual cable product using what was then known as Fanhattan in California, but, despite what it called good results, the company decided not to expand it.
- Time Warner Cable has this press release
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