Time Warner Cable has signed on with an upstart TV set-top box that streams both cable TV and online video.
The Fan TV box was unveiled last summer, centered on the dream of combining the paid programming available on cable boxes with apps, Internet video and other features available on devices like Apple TV — all packaged in a slick interface.
But no cable or satellite provider had yet signed on, effectively making Fan TV a very expensive hockey puck. The Time Warner Cable deal announced Tuesday finally pushes Fan TV from dream to reality.
Fan TV, which is currently available to pre-order for $99, will be compatible for Time Warner Cable and its 11 million cable subscribers when the box ships in June. (The device will cost $149 after it begins shipping.) There is no additional fee beyond the cost of the box.
In a press release on Tuesday, the companies characterized Fan TV as a "frictionless discovery experience" that helps customers find new content. Other features include a touchless remote, recommendations from friends and critics, search that finds titles across various services and the option to browse without closing apps.
While critics have hailed Fan TV's interface as simple and beautiful, the device won't include all that much streaming content initially.
At launch, Fan TV's app selection will include Redbox Instant by Verizon, Crackle, Target Ticket and Rhapsody's streaming music service. Fan TV also lacks a DVR feature.
Fan TV plans to add more streaming services "over time" — which is a necessity if the upstart wants to compete with boxes from titan rivals including Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.