Eschewing the traditional cable box experience is no easy feat. Google attempted it with their Google TV, Apple simply provides a box to connect to their iTunes Stores, and while the Xbox One has grandiose plans to become the de facto box in your living room, it likely won’t happen simply because it still requires a, well, cable box. So with trepidation, a tad of excitement, and skepticism I introduce to you to the Fan TV.
The Fan TV is unlike any other box on the market today. Instead of relying on supporting hardware, such as a cable box or cable card, it can record shows directly to its cloud based DVR, access a variety of online streaming sites (Hulu or Netflix), and is able to tap directly into your cable.
CEO Gilles BianRosa told [Techcrunch] that the company expects to be available to as many as 60 million pay TV households by the end of the year.
It’s UI, or user interface, appears to be derived from the company’s iOS app, both of which appear to offer a sleek user interface. Type in a show and it will return a result along with its available sources. To navigate Fan TV’s menus is an included touchpad remote which might be best described as a touchpad, offering a similar experience to that of a laptops trackpad.
Once the Fan TV has been used, poked and prodded it will begin to learn your tastes, and will most likely make show and movie suggestions based off a variety of data points, including your social connections.
Unlike Tivo, or another setup box that relies on the cable company, the Fan TV will be able to stand alone. However, it’s not designed to work with a traditional coaxial cable plug, and requires that the cable company deliver their content over IP. And because of that Fan TV is targeting the cable companies, who will hopefully offer the box at a premium to consumers. This should enable them to reach a much broader audience at a much faster rate.
That said, Fan TV hasn’t told us when the box will arrive and be available to willing participants. But that isn’t to say it won’t be available soon. In fact, Fan TV told Techcrunch that the Fan TV box will be available to 60 million consumers by the end of the year, or so he anticipates.