June 9, 2011
Just fourteen months after its introduction, the iPad has become a one-stop shop to purchase and view movies and TV shows. However, it wasn’t until the release of Fanhattan that iPad owners needed only one app to access all of that entertainment. Created by a Silicon Valley firm by the same name, Fanhattan bills itself as the “starting point for entertainment discovery.” For the most part, this is correct. Take a look: The app, which is completely free, allows users to learn more about and access programming from four different sources. These include Netflix, iTunes, Hulu Plus, and ABC. Before you get too excited, keep in mind you’ll still need a subscription to access the content from the first three offerings. Organized into two broad categories, Movies and TV Shows, Fanhattan has an amazing interface that is actually fun to use with content organized into various sub-categories. Movies For Movies, these are Smart Browse, Top Movies, Genres, and Upcoming. The first option, Smart Browse, is most intuitive and allows you to find content based on a combination of Genres, User Ratings, Release Dates, Services, Ratings, and Sort by. Top Movies include categories such as Hottest, Newest, and Oscar Winners, among others. Genres range from Action films to Comedies to Thrillers, and others. Finally Upcoming includes links to current and future movies, along with links to trailers and ticket outlets. TV Shows Like under Movies, TV Shows has sub-categories, which include Smart Browse, Top Shows, and Genres. In addition, you have the option to search by Schedule and Networks. Where applicable, Schedule sorts programs by the day of the week the series originally aired. Networks include titles from ABC to Showtime to VHI, and countless others. The Details Once you find the show you want to know more about or wish to watch, Fanhattan really kicks into overdrive. This is especially true for TV Shows. Not only does the app show where the specific content is available, but it also includes Episode details, Reviews, Cast & Crew, Available Soundtracks, Fan Gear, Social Networking options, and links to similar programs. Under Movies you also get Rotten Tomatoes reviews, Video Clips, and additional categories. Fanhattan wants to be your one-stop spot for entertainment and it does exactly as promised. However, its biggest drawback is something it can’t control. Once you select a movie or TV show to play or purchase, you will be redirected to the appropriate app. Naturally, these apps must be installed on the iPad. Yet this limitation comes with a perk: Fanhattan knows exactly where you need to be in the other app. For example, you might need Hulu Plus to view an episode of Lost, but it is Fanhattan that takes you there with no further interaction on your part with the streaming service. It will be interesting to see how successful Fanhattan becomes and if it signs up other media outlets. Already, I’d love to see content from HBO Go included. Plus, while they're at it, Fanhattan should add the TiVO app as well. Fanhattan is available in the App Store. What do you think? Leave your comments below.