Rovi Halts Sale of Fan TV Boxes to TWC

Rovi and Time Warner Cable confirmed that Rovi stopped selling the IP-connected Fan TV device to MSO customers as of last Friday (October 23), and that those customers will be transitioned to Fan TV’s new Android TV app over the next four weeks and offered a free Google Nexus Player.

Those customers will be able to use the Nexus Player to tap into a Fan TV platform that can search for and discover content across OTT services such as Hulu, Netflix, Google Play, and Showtime Anytime.  Time Warner Cable ported its TWC TV app to the original  Fan TV device, but has not yet launched one for the Android TV-based Nexus Player.

While Fan TV’s approach with TWC was novel in that it offered a way to blend OTT with traditional pay-TV services, it wasn’t a huge hit with TWC’s sub base. About 1,000 TWC customers had purchased a Fan TV device. TWC began to email those customers about the decision on October 24. The official shut down will occur on November 30.

Variety first reported on the decision earlier today.

Rovi acquired Fan TV (a.k.a. Fanhattan) last year for $12 million. Via its  partnership with Fan TV, TWC offered the Fan TV box and button-less remote control for $149, and allowed subscribers to access its live TV and VOD through its TWC TV app. TWC is in the process of being acquired by Charter Communications, which is pushing ahead with a next-gen video strategy of its own that’s focused on the MSO’s new “Worldbox” and cloud-based apps for smartphones, tablets and, most recently, the Roku platform. 

In 2013, Cox Communications used an earlier iteration of Fanhattan’s platform for FlareWatch, a live TV and cloud DVR service combo delivered over IP to broadband-only customers in Orange County, Calif. Cox shut down that brief, technical market trial in the fall of 2013.

Last month, Fan TV launched a version of its video search and recommendation mobile app for Android devices, complementing its original launch on iOS.

Regarding Fan TV's device-facing future, Rovi noted that the platform has always been hardware-agnostic and that it built a “full stack” solution as an option to deliver the Fan TV experience.

“Going forward, we will also be embracing a variety of hardware models to get our software in front of as wide an audience as possible,” Rovi said in a statement. “Fan TV is now on iOS, Android Mobile, Android TV and the web. In addition, you’ll see us working with more traditional set-top box vendors, where it makes sense. For example, last month at IBC we announced Fan TV’s availability on a new Technicolor hybrid DVB / IP set-top-box to help pay TV operators make the leap to next generation discovery while staying on their legacy video delivery networks.”

Rovi added that Fan TV is being developed and marketed alongside Rovi’s other next-gen  products such as Rovi Search, Recommendations, and Conversation. Service providers can either take the full Fan TV solution, or buy modular features (delivered via APIs) to incorporate into their own in-house offerings, the company added.