Meet Fan TV

Gilles BianRosa • May 29, 2013 8 Comments

Today on-stage at D11, we’re unveiling a project that has dominated our hearts and minds for the past 24 months: Fan TV. It is our answer to the future of TV and our vision – to make engaging with your favorite movies and shows simpler and more magical – realized. Fan TV brings your entertainment life together in one place: Live TV, cloud DVR, and streaming.


Today’s Living Room Problem

The easiest part of reinventing the TV experience was figuring out the problems we wanted to solve. When we took stock of the top problems in our living rooms, they were:

  1. Technology getting in the way: We love our devices and apps as much as anyone – but even we started to realize how crazy it was to have a stack of devices in our living room, each with one fragment of your world of movies and shows.  Choosing what to watch on Friday night can include a scavenger hunt across cable boxes, DVRs, game consoles, and streaming devices connected to your TV – not to mention the other screens in our lives.
  2. Entertainment getting lost: In the mix of hardware, apps and services, the core of the experience was lost: the actual entertainment. We think of it as the “Friday night fail” – sitting down after a long week to be entertained and quickly getting frustrated by the process of a) deciding what to watch and b) finding it across dozens of streaming services, on demand and live TV options, and c) negotiating a limited timespan before your significant other declares the effort hopeless. The loss – we end up settling for whatever is on rather than finding something we would love to watch.
  3. Out of control remotes: Someone must have sent a memo about a decade ago saying the more buttons on the remote, the better it would be. (We didn’t get the memo). We knew we had to fix the fact that remotes now required not only manuals, but magnifying glasses to operate them.

The Journey to Fan TV

As we thought through how to address these problems, we came to Alan Kay’s realization:

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

In order to create a truly amazing experience in the living room we needed to completely change the way people interact with entertainment – and this required molding the entire experience across both software and hardware.

Once on this path, we set out to bring a diverse and experienced set of people and partners together. Our team was built with a passionate crew including previous experience at Apple, Google, Amazon, Tivo, Sonos, Netflix, and Hollywood studios. Next, we partnered with the design geniuses of FuseProject who are known, under Yves Behar’s leadership, to reinvent product categories. In addition, we built strategic partnerships with world-class suppliers and manufacturers with prior experience building blockbuster products.

At every stage, our team remained focused on the experience we wanted as movie and TV watchers – and we sought out the top talent in the world to create this experience. We listened to the feedback and insights from more than a million users of our iOS app, and applied the key learnings to Fan TV. Still, Fan TV took more than two years to come to fruition. Building amazing experiences at the intersection of software and hardware takes time.

Meet Fan TV


All of this led to Fan TV, a single device to simplify your living room.

  1. Streaming Services, Live TV and DVR – all in one single place: You shouldn’t need a stack of devices in your living room, each with one piece of your entertainment solution for watching movies and shows. We decided to create one device bringing everything you watch into one place.
  2. The simplest remote imaginable: To truly change your interaction with the TV, we needed to reimagine the remote. We created the simplest touch remote imaginable – a simple swipe and you’re watching, another swipe and you’re searching. No need to turn on the lights and find your glasses prior to switching channels. Touch changed the way we interact with our phones and tablets, and we decided the time is right to bring touch to the biggest screen in your house.
  3. “Entertainment First” Discovery Experience: Ultimately, technology needs to fade into the background. We want to connect you to the entertainment you love in a way that you’re transported from your living room directly to the red carpet. Entertainment is magical, and our goal is to immerse you in the magic and glamour of the movies and shows you love – from the way the remote enables you to “touch” the screen from your couch to the cinematic user experience to the deep catalog of all the world’s entertainment. Decide what you want to watch, and Fan TV will give you all your options to instantly watch.

Our goal is to inspire your entertainment life across every screen – from your TV to the web to your iPad and iPhone. We designed a cross-screen experience that follows you as you leave your house – enabling you to both watch and program your entertainment life on-the-go. Going forward, we’ll be renaming the Fan TV service “Fan” on iPad, iPhone, and the web, and we’re unveiling our new web app to the public today.

To find out more about Fan TV, watch a video of the product in-action and sign-up for updates.

That’s Fan TV – and it’s coming soon to a living room near you.


Comments (8)

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  1. BongBong says:

    The main unit is a bit unattractive, but they are really going for the gold on this one.

  2. BG says:

    Great concept – you have to move fast because the competition is picking up. Samsung has now a similar interface on their 2013 models and the xbox one will compete here as well. Finally, there is Apple lurking around the corner on top of all.

  3. HT Guy says:

    The cable set-top box cannot be done away with unless you use a cable card, at least for my cable company. And ours (and most others?) only allows one directional cable cards. You also need an amplifier/switcher for audio. My home computer network is integral to my HT experience, so there’s another box. And if I want to play games, I have to use game console hardware (we have Xbox and PS3, so there’s a couple boxes). And I need a blu-ray player. Apple TV is great for iTunes and mirroring via AirPlay, and is a great gateway to unusual content when jailbroken.

    OK let’s total that up

    — STB (or Fan)

    — Amp

    — PC

    — Xbox

    — PS3

    — Blu-ray player

    — Apple TV

    Looks like 7 boxes to me, not 1.

    That better be one awesome TV Guide and remote.

    • Hal O'Brien says:

      I’m sure that’s a great setup… for you. The question is, are you at all representative of anyone other than yourself? And, even if so, how large is that group relative to the market as a whole?

  4. Wizznilliam says:

    The main question is, does it support CableCard?, Or at least a way to get CableCard output… If not then it is just another hyped up Roku box. In that case it is no better than Xbox one or any of the other streaming content boxes.

    • Mareid says:

      I would like to know about cable card support as well. I am anxious to see this beautiful little device. I hope you won’t use the TiVo model where one buys the box, rents the multi-channel card, pays for the TiVo service as well as the TV service from the cable company. This is much more costly than just knuckling under to the cable company and renting their DVR/STB. If the Fan box is a reasonable price, and the monthly fee is no more than the fee I pay Verizon for their stb, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Since I have Apple-TV now, the added streaming feature doesn’t add much value for me, but being able to ditch the STB from the cable company is worth some initial investment on my part.

  5. DavidPoninski says:

    I really, really what to know how this runs live TV. I have Time Warner Cable and my god does the Roku app blow. They don’t have any of the channels I watch on it. I really liked the Google TV and the cable box integration, but yet again I’m stuck with the Decepticon cable box and another box. Can we get any more details on how the cable integration works?

  6. Mareid says:

    I am really looking forward to the release of this product!

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