Movie, TV aggregator Fanhattan offers interesting concept, but future is murky

Jun 13, 2011
Tech

New iPad app Fanhattan has garnered quite a bit of positive press since its release earlier this month, but while I’ve never shied from sharing a less-than-enthusiastic opinion of an app before, it’s rare that I feel like such a dissenter, which is the case when it comes to Fanhattan. Although I find Fanhattan to […]

New iPad app Fanhattan has garnered quite a bit of positive press since its release earlier this month, but while I’ve never shied from sharing a less-than-enthusiastic opinion of an app before, it’s rare that I feel like such a dissenter, which is the case when it comes to Fanhattan. Although I find Fanhattan to be an interesting concept, especially for users who have eschewed cable TV, I’m having trouble seeing a bright future for the app.

Fanhattan aims to be a one-stop shop for all film and television, giving users access to a variety of on-demand services. Through the app, users can browse movies and TV shows, both new releases and older content, and see where the title can be viewed, be it through subscription services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus, or for purchase on iTunes.

At the very least, I can say that Fanhattan is a good-looking app, although the number of pop-up instructions for navigation at first launch was daunting and made the app feel more complicated. Users swipe left to see additional titles, tap thumbnails to see where the title can be viewed, and swipe up to see the title’s full “discovery” page, which offers information such as episode listings, plot and cast information, video clips and trailers, reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and more.

Technologically, Fanhattan feels unstable, crashing on multiple occasions. The available search parameters only worked sporadically during my testing — when selecting a genre, the app refreshed continually with no change in results. My titles did change when I opted to restrict the services presented, however, this didn’t necessarily mean the results were accurate when asking for anything other than Netflix, Hulu Plus or iTunes. If the app is unable to properly catalog options from Amazon or Crackle, for example, I don’t see the point in including the services as options. I just don’t see current Netflix or Hulu Plus subscribers launching this app before going directly to their preferred service.

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If you do find something you want to watch in Fanhattan, and the available watching  methods are to your liking, hit the corresponding play function and Fanhattan will launch the appropriate viewing app. The downside to this is that it takes you out of the Fanhattan app.

Perhaps I simply don’t consume enough media on my iPad to see Fanhattan’s full potential — as it stands now, I think its future is murky. Be sure to weigh in in the comments section and let us know what you think.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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