Friday, February 22, 2013

Get your Place Shifting Devices now..

Today I will be reviewing place shifting devices. Slingbox, Monsoon Multimedia Player and Belkin's @Tv.
I pay enough for my cable bill that I feel I should be able to watch it anywhere in the world. The technology is there so why should my cable provider not give it to me. Well, I wanted it, so I took it. I began my journey to find something that wouldn't cost me a ton of cash but was worth the effort. Here is what I found.

Slingbox not only provides this function but they do it terrifically. They also provide two models.
The Slingbox 500 and the Slingbox 350
The Slinbox 500 is there high end model 1080p version. It advertises as Tv you can watch anywhere. Super easy to connect. Easy to control with no monthly fees. The price is $299.99
The Slingbox 350 does the same thing with 720p connectivity. The price tag will only cost you $180.00
The app you will need to install on your Mobile devices will cost you an additional $14.99

The Slingbox 500 features

Extend your living room TV experience in sparkling 1080p high definition.
Connects to your DVR, cable set-top box or satellite receiver via HDMI and component or composite sources.
New simplified setup on your TV screen
Built in Wi-Fi
Sleek, innovative design
Watch and control your TV and all of its programming on your compatible smartphone or tablet using SlingPlayer software*.
Access your Slingbox from the web on a high-speed Internet-connected PC or Mac.
On the road, at work or on vacation, anywhere - anytime.
Wirelessly archive your videos and photos and enjoy them on the big screen at home or wherever you go. Attached USB storage required**

The Slingbox 500 will also feature apps in the future. The vision is to have it act as Set-top (like Roku) box as well so you will be getting multiple uses out of the device. However this has yet to be implemented leaving you with a very expensive way to stream your tv signal to your smart device.

The Slingbox 350 features
Extend your TV living room experience in sparkling 1080p high definition.
Connects to your digital video recorder (DVR), cable set-top box or satellite receiver via component or composite sources.
Ethernet connectivity (NO WIFI)
Compact design
Watch and control your TV and all of its programming on your compatible smartphone or tablet using SlingPlayer software*.
Access your Slingbox from the web on a high-speed Internet-connected PC or Mac.
On the road, at work or on vacation, anywhere - anytime.

Sling Media is the standard of place shifting devices. There reviews are always solid and new models available they will most likely continue to be the dominant providers in place shifting devices. No Wifi on the 350 could be a deal breaker and is/was for me.

A little know participant in the streaming live tv game is Monsoon Multimedia. I was able to buy there first generation version and loved it. Not only did it work great but it was super reliable. The only issue I constantly ran into was weak signal strength or weak wifi strength.

Monsoon Media provides you with three different flavors.
The Vulkano Blast Starting at $249.99
The Vulkano Lava $199.99
and the Vulkano Flow $99.99

They all offer component 1080p.
However the Flow offers the least amount of features by far.

The Flows Features

Mark channels as Favorite for quick access on your mobile phone
Watch and control your live TV on the go via Wi-Fi or 3G
Watch at home on iPads Tablets, and PC/MAC in near HD resolution
Change channels just like at home
Connect to all major TV sources - cable, DVD, satellite, DVR, TiVo
Stream high-quality video at H.264 standards at 150kbps
Connects to set-top box analog output and wireless to home router (802.11n

The Lava offers tons more.

Watch all your TV channels from anywhere
Use as a DVR or MVR (Mobile Video Recorder)
Works with all major TV services
Connects to Cable, DVD, Satellite, DVR or TiVo boxes
Schedule TV recordings from anywhere
Browse EPG for favorite shows
Transfer TV recordings to, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs
Remote TV require is a second Vukano ( Flow, Lava or Blast )
Stream videos, photos & music from any mobile to the TV
Includes an internal 4GB memory card
Supports time-shifting (Pause, RW, FF) live TV
Includes internal Wi-Fi (.11n)
Stream TV in near HD quality to iPad, Tablets, mobiles
Change channels just like at home
Search and watch YouTube videos on your TV

The Blast features

Watch all your TV channels from anywhere
Watch a Remote TV on your home TV
Use as a DVR or MVR (Mobile Video Recorder)
Works with all major TV services
Connects to Cable, DVD, Satellite, DVR or TiVo boxes
Schedule TV recordings from anywhere
Browse EPG for favorite shows
Transfer TV recordings to, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs
Remote TV require is a second Vukano ( Flow, Lava or Blast )
Stream videos, photos & music from any mobile to the TV
Includes an internal 160GB hard drive
Supports time-shifting (Pause, RW, FF) live TV
Includes internal Wi-Fi (.11n)
Stream TV in near HD quality to iPad ,Tablets, mobiles
Change channels just like at home
Search and watch YouTube videos on your TV

The mobile app which is only for the IPhone goes for an additional $9.99
Depending on what your needs are this can be a great alternative to Slingbox. However with limited support for the mobile and Ipad app, this would not be my first choice.

This brings me to my purchase. The @tv by Belkin
The @Tv seems to be a solid middle point. At the cost of $124.99 I found this device to be just what I needed.

@Tv Features

Never miss a show, movie or sporting event: Watch live and recorded TV anywhere your tablet, smartphone or laptop can access Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G
Record directly on mobile devices: Watch anything recorded on your DVR or recorded directly to your mobile device
Easy to use Channel Guide: Effortlessly scroll through channels with Swipe Surf easy
Wi-Fi enabled for easy-setup

The IPad app is Free
The IPhone App is $12.99

The weird this is that the IPad app is free. I didnt mind paying the $12.99 especially since it works great. The Hava and Slingbox offer 1080p but when your streaming through Composite cables over your home internet speed to 3g or 4g or fluctuating wifi, are you really gonna get 1080p quality video
A complaint I hear from people is channel change lag. You are changing the channel from a device miles away from your phone. The lag is seconds not not tens of seconds or minutes. Give me a break if you think it should be instantaneous.  It cannot work that way.

After a month of use the Belkin has done its job %100.

The biggest negative I have about the @Tv is the setup wasn't the easiest to install but I enjoy the challenge  The installation isnt as easy as it should be. I'm not the best I.T. pro in the world but I've got skillz. This was took me a few minutes to get working properly but was simple enough. I would have not let my parents handle this installation is all I'm saying.
I usually dont count pennies but if your giving the IPad app away for free, why not give the IPhone App away for free.
When I first bought the App it did not fill the screen on my IPhone 5. They have since come out with an update fixing this issue but they were slow to make the change, so I can only hope that they become more responsive to future mobile changes.


The Pros to the @Tv
Belkin offers a 2 year warranty.
The Price $125.99 to 135.79.
IPad app for Free
The look is nice and doesnt take up much space.
Over the last year I have become a big fan of Belkin. They make quality products and they have my trust in that fact.
Hava Monsoon would be my second choice because I've used the product and enjoyed my experience.
But if I had the $300.00 to spend on something I would try out the Slingbox because they are the standard in Place Shifting Devices.

No matter what option you are looking to buy or end up choosing.  If you pay for Tv you should be able to view it wherever you go on demand. Even though this is an upfront cost on top of your monthly bill it has been well worth the cost.  You can watch golf during the week from work or if the wife makes you go somewhere during the big game on the weekend than this is your best option. Any of these devices are great and will do the trick you just have to find something your comfortable with. For me it is with Belkin and the @Tv.

If you have any other suggestions let me know about them below!

 
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