R.I.P. SanDisk’s TakeTV, Fanfare Shut Down

TakeTV, we hardly knew ye. Unveiled just last October, SanDisk’s USB PC-to-TV video device along with Fanfare, its accompanying content portal, were both shut down on May 15th, a SanDisk spokesperson has confirmed.

The official party line is that TakeTV was no longer a priority for SanDisk as the company focuses on being at the hub of mobile entertainment. Translation: No one bought the device. It’s easy to understand why; SanDisk was outgunned and outnumbered on this set-top bet.

Though Om liked it, and SanDisk billed the device as an easy way to transport content from the web to your TV, it had two things going against it:

1.) It was kludgey. You had to plug a USB device into your PC, download content, then put that USB device into another device that hooked up to your TV. Yeah, that’s easy.

2.) Lack of content. If you want people to buy a device that downloads TV content, you’d better offer lots of TV content. TakeTV’s Fanfare portal had deals with CBS, Jaman, Showtime, the Smithsonian, The Weather Channel and TV Guide Broadband. No ABC, no FOX — not even The CW. TakeTV had announced a deal with NBC, but it looks as though that never got implemented.

Not to mention the fact that SanDisk was facing heavy competition from better-known companies like Apple, TiVo and Xbox — all of which provided more content and an easier solution for downloading shows to your TV.

TakeTV’s demise is a good lesson all around. For consumers, don’t be fooled by a company’s promise of what’s to come — especially for first-generation products. If it doesn’t have the content you want, don’t buy it (even Apple TV flunked at first). And Silicon Valley — quit making set-top boxes! With services like tru2way on the way and with Internet connections built right into TVs, you’re going to lose a lot of money as cable companies and consumer electronics companies eat your lunch.

TakeTV’s site is still up, but Fanfare has been shut down. The devices will still work, their owners just have to find video files elsewhere.