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Today’s Show:

Mohu Channels

Last year we saw a cool Kickstarter project called Mohu Channels. According to the project description you would be able to:

Create your own TV Channel Guide as a mash-up of streaming apps, websites & broadcast TV with Mohu Channels. We’re making TV fun again!

The project has been completed and is now available through the Mohu website for $150. Being that we have had great experiences with every Mohu product we have reviewed in the past we were quite excited to get our hands on the device and put it through its paces.

Features

  • Combine all your favorite programming on a single source
  • Arrange your channels in any order: Kids channels. Sports stations. Streaming movies. Web sites for photos, stocks or weather. Local TV stations. You decide.
  • Use a real keyboard or smart device to type in movie names, web addresses, email or any other text. No more on-screen keyboards!

Setup

Physical setup is trivial, connect your antenna, HDMI, Ethernet (if you are using the device wired), and power. Next turn it on and select the HDMI input on your TV and follow the onscreen instructions. You are given the option to train the Mohu remote to work with your TV. If you have a Samsung TV it works out of the box.

We skipped this step and moved on to selecting our time zone and language preferences followed by joining our wifi network. The last part of the setup was scanning for channels. The tuner is quite good and found more channels than the TV’s tuner did. Once the channels have been found you can delete channels that you have no interest in or you can change the order that they appear in your guide.

The basic setup takes about ten to fifteen minutes, add five more for a firmware update, and you can start watching right away. But there is much more to Mohu Channels than simply watching over the air HDTV. Next up we added apps through the Google Play store. There are so many that you can add but we stuck with Netflix and Hulu and a few network apps. You can also add web pages but honestly we can’t think of a reason why you would want to. Once we added all the apps and channels we organized them in the guide based on our favorites. It takes a little time but once you have them organized the way you want it makes using the device simple and easy.

Performance

This was hit and miss for us. As we said above the tuner is quite good. it picks up channels that out HDTV didn’t and would stay locked even with a weak signal. Using the ARC channel of the HDTV we were even able to get Dolby Digital audio. But lip sync issues would pop up from time to time. Changing the channel away and back usually fixed the issue.  The picture quality was outstanding!

Then we watched Netflix and were not happy with the picture quality. Its hard to tell if that is an issue with the Mohu Channels device or the Netflix application. The navigation within the app was quirky, using the D-pad for navigation was problematic. For instance you could not select episodes. The only way we were able to do so was with the pointer. The top it off the audio was only stereo. Compared to the Netflix app on the TV, Amazon Fire, or AppleTV, the device did not compare favorably.

Then we checked out Hulu+ and found video to be slightly better but in all the experience was not much better than the Netflix app.

The user interface took a little getting used to but after a little time it was acceptable. The remote’s pointer/mouse function frustrated us at first. To make the selection with it you need to press SEL and try not to move the remote. It took a little practice but as soon as we mastered it we were able to select anything we pointed at. It is nice having a full keyboard to make surfing and adding content easier. The pointer makes navigating around the various apps and GUI elements easier as well. Everything works as advertised but it just didn’t seem to flow nicely.

After speaking with the Mohu people we learned that the company is getting a lot of feedback and is paying attention to it. They will be releasing a Firmware update to fix a couple of issues in the next few days. They tell us they are committed to making the product easy and fun to use.  They are also working on the Netflix experience but admit some of the issues we experienced may be out of their control.

Mohu One

Mohu One is a web content aggregator that finds videos from Youtube, Vevo, Fox Sports, and more and presents them in a single interface grouped by category.  This is a web service so you can use the site with or without the device. We used the pointer to navigate this device because the D-Pad navigation had a few quirks.

DVR

Right now there is no DVR function available. The device does have a USB port that will allow for this capability in the future. Mohu wants to keep this a no cost to use device so they are trying to work the TV Guide issues associated with such a product. More info on this in the future.

Conclusion

Mohu Channels has the right idea but still needs a little work. There is a lot of potential in this little device. We’ll check back with it in a few months so see how it is progressing. Mohu Channels  may end up being the cord cutters Swiss Army Knife in the near future.

Download Episode #678


Posted by The HT Guys, March 12, 2015 11:41 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.