Video discovery iOS app startup Fanhattan surprised the tech world last week by announcing plans to sell a set top box designed to integrate online video and traditional pay-TV service. The Fan TV device includes a buttonless remote control and a graphical user interface that has impressed initial critics.
The Fan TV would join a host of other devices designed to bring together online video offerings, like those from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and others, together with traditional linear pay-TV service. Last week, Microsoft (Nasdaq MSFT) described its plans to do something similar with its Xbox One, joining a crowded field of devices like those sold by TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO), Roku and Boxee and leased by the traditional pay-TV providers.
The Fan TV box only has two inputs--a Wi-Fi connection and a Cat-5/Ethernet connection, and an HDMI output, a spokeswoman told FierceOnlineVideo. The device won't need a CableCARD to access linear cable programming. Instead, TV programming would be delivered over an IP connection to the box. Some cable operators are already simulcasting parts of their TV lineups in IP to reach tablets and smartphones in the home.
In order for Fan TV to access those streams, it would need to work with individual cable operators and other pay-TV distributors. "We want to work with them and we want to make their service look great," Fanhattan's CEO Gilles BianRosa said at the Wall Street Journal's D11 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., this week, according to a report in AllThingsD. So far, the company has not announced any such partner.
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