A new promising placeshifting device with the potential to become the ultimate all-in-one home TV device is due for launch in March 2010.
The ‘Volcano’ from Monsoon Multimedia (the makers of the HAVA placeshifting line) is WebTVWire’s favorite device from the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Quite simply this slimline set top box is packed with a variety of promising features.
It is essentially does all of the following:
- HD placeshifter – Allows you to view 720p high definition streams of your home Cable TV connection and home video library over the internet.
- DVR – Plug in your cable box or other TV source and you have the typical DVR functions of recording and playing TV.
- Internet TV – Right not its YouTube for online video and CinemaNow for paid movies. In the works are many other web TV services including Boxee and Netflix.
- Apps – The device should also allow you to play on Twitter and Facebook as well as do a lot of other stuff like play games and check the weather through third-party apps.
- Live Broadcast - It can even broadcast video from your home live across the internet.
- Home Network Media – Access and share video and media across your home network wired or wirelessly.
Soak up some pics and watch a video of it in action…
An Internet TV Set Top Box
In addition to placeshifting the device also tries to be an internet enabled set top box like the Roku. It can play a variety of content including videos from YouTube and on-demand movies from CinemaNow.
Simply putting YouTube on the TV screen will make a lot of people happy, and makes the PopBox, which lacks YouTube streaming, look a lot less appealing when this slim little box can access the biggest video site on Earth.
Digital Video Recorder
Monsoon describe the DVR feature as being akin to TiVo with a recommendation engine that records your favorite TV for you. The typical DVR features of pausing and rewinding live TV are also present.
It doesn’t come with an internal tuner so you will need to hook it up to your cable box or other TV source. Lacking a tuner will mean that you probably won’t be able to record and play different TV stations at the same time.
The DVR can also be accessed remotely so you can manage your recording schedule.
A Media Extender
It doesn’t end there however! The Volcano can also play videos off local storage media via USB, eSATA and UPnP. It even crosses into media extender territory with support for DLNA meaning it can access DLNA compatible devices on the home network.
It can also stream files over a home network over UPnP, and video streaming in this fashion is also planned.
To be clear you can both access media on other devices and play them, and other devices can access the Volcano and play the media stored on it.
Monsoon is very keen on getting as many apps for the Volcano as possible. Already guaranteed for launch are YouTube and CinemaNow, but also planned is Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, Last.fm, Boxee and many more.
App production is open to third party developers.
A TiVoToGO-esque Function
No it doesn’t stop there either! You can copy videos from an attached set-top-box (say your recorded programs on your DVR) and quickly export them to external media, or the integrated storage that is planned on later models. This is a bit like TiVoToGo.
Simply connect to your home theater using the software available ot PC, Max OS X, iPhone, Symbian, or Windows Mobile smartphone.
To stream content over the net it uses a 150kbps uplink speed, as well as H.264 video compression technology developed by Monsoon
A Live Broadcaster – aka SlingCatcher
Also planned for the Volcano is the ability to stream live (or recorded) video from your home across the internet. This is what the SlingCatcher does.
If the Volcano can pull all this off it will be a media extender, Slingbox, SlingCatcher, Internet TV set-top-box & TiVoToGo machine all in-one!
Monsoon looks set to take the place of Slingmedia as the innovative company coming out with ground-breaking disruptive technology. Slingmedia seems to have lost its disruptive passion when it was taken over by Echostar (aka DISH Network).
Volcano Features Overview
- All-in-One video convergence device combines major features of TiVo, Slingbox/HAVA, Roku and Remote DVR features for a fraction of the cost
- High-quality video playback
- Includes hardware remote control; smartphones and computers have on-screen remotes
- Free app with EPG supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile smartphones
- Streams high-quality video at H.264 and MPEG-4 standards at 150kbps
- Enables full remote control and channel changing capabilities of any TV source such as Cable, Satellite, DVD or TiVo
- Wireless N for video uplink and broadcast throughout the home
- Smooth video over 3G as well as Wi-Fi
- Browse EPG for schedules, series and episode descriptions
- Built in infrared to control set-top box remotely
- Multiple users can have recordings on the Volcano hard-drive and access them independently
GUI Let Down?
According to Dave Zatz the GUI is a little rough around the edges so usability could be an issue, although Monsoon did say the interface is stll being worked on and improved. The media interface is Cover Flow-esque (like how you browse albums on the iPod) which looks promising.
The box design however is certainly very sleek (pictures coming shortly), it is a thin black design with a healthy selection of inputs and outputs on the back.
The Volcano is expected in March in a 4GB flash memory version for $199. A Pro edition will also be sold for $299 which features a more healthy 250GB drive. A lifetime or term-based subscription will also be needed, but details on this have not yet been released.
Buy Monsoon Volcano
As soon as the Monsoon Volcano is available to purchase it will be listed here:
No eBay items currently available.
- DISH Network DVR with Slingbox technology
- More Slingplayer & Placeshifting News
- Monsoon HAVA placeshifters on eBay
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