How a Smart Speaker could help fill the void Cable TV left behind
When discussing ways to cut the cord and ditch cable, we most often talk about online streaming services and digital downloads. In fact, 99 percent of cord cutting coverage is dedicated to strictly visual mediums like television and film. But despite what you may hear, there’s more than one way to kill the cable bill.
Introducing the Mohu BeBox
To emphasize this point, in today’s article I am going to be discussing Mohu’s latest device, the BeBox. I have purchased two of these speakers myself and I have been completely blown away with how much I love them. The BeBox is what you would call a smart speaker; essentially a speaker system with an Android tablet built in. This Android based interface opens you up to a word of possibilities.
4 ways a Smart Speaker like the Mohu BeBox, can act as a viable Cable TV Alternative:
- Audio Books
Audio books are an often overlooked form of entertainment, but even in the age of Netflix they’re still relevant to the tech savvy consumer. When I went through the Game of Thrones books; I didn’t just read it, I listened to the audiobook as well; and I am glad I did. Trust me when I say, audiobooks are a form of entertainment that you cannot overlook.
Purchasing audiobooks can get expensive, so I suggest getting a subscription to Amazon Prime (Overview | Pricing). With that Prime membership, you get access to hundreds of thousands of books; including audio books. And as an added bonus, you get a subscription to Audible; which offers discounts on audio books and one free audiobook a month.
With the Mohu BeBox you’ll be able to download audiobooks straight to the speaker, so there’s no need for cords, discs, or USBs. All you’ll have to worry about picking out your next book.
- Unlimited Music
There is a lot of music online. I mean a lot. Between Pandora, Songza, Spotify, and YouTube; almost the entire world of music is open to you. Sure, you can always listen music through your phone with headphones; but when you’re having friends over or just relaxing at home, headphones just won’t cut it.
With the BeBox you’ll be able to download all the popular music apps, as well as put your already purchased music on it. If you sign up for Amazon Prime (Overview | Pricing), you’ll also be able to get access to about a million songs from various artist; expanding your music library even further. And once again, you’ll be able to play it all from your BeBox instead of some convoluted speaker set up that may or may not work.
Before the YouTube star, there was the podcaster. And while podcasts may not reach to quite the heights of popularity as YouTube, it is still a very much alive medium. There are millions of podcasts out there to choose from and each one caters to a different topic.
If you like science, there’s science podcast. You like history? You’re covered. Current events? Yep, there’s a podcast for that too. One of my favorite podcasts of all time is Serial, which reexamined a murder case in its first season and breaks new ground in season two.
- Sporting Event Audio Streams
If your a cordcutting sports fan you are probably all too familiar with some of the limitations that exist on watching your favorite team on the big screen. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find that most sporting events, and leagues all broadcast live game feeds via the radio or a sport specific streaming app.So what if you could mow the lawn, clean the garage, man the BBQ, or sit next to your fire pit while listening to your favorite team play? Pretty cool right? No more trying to hear who is up to bat, or who just caught that touchdown on your tiny cell phone or laptop speakers…
What is the Mohu BeBox?
As I mentioned earlier, the best way to describe the BeBox is smart speaker. Essentially, the BeBox is a high-quality speaker with a 7 inch Android tablet as its interface.
The Mohu Bebox goes for $499 with free shipping and a risk-free 14-day money-back guarantee.
“The BeBox merges a great-sounding Bluetooth speaker with a dedicated set-top box. The presence of an onboard Android tablet, expandable storage, an HDMI port, and an 8-hour battery means this system can…” Mohu BeBox review: An epic mashup of Bluetooth boombox and Android tablet – Tech Hive
Because it runs Android, you have access to a world of possibilities. You can download apps to improve the EQ, you could watch Netflix on it, you can send music to it via Bluetooth, heck you can even check your e-mail on it. Anything you can do on a smartphone, you can do on the Bebox. It’s an interesting take on the mobile speaker idea, one that I’m surprised to not have seen earlier; and today we’re going to unbox the BeBox and I’ll show you how it easy it is to set up and what you can do with it.
How to Setup your BeBox
The first thing you’ll notice with this smart speaker out is how simple it is to turn it on. One of the few things I hate about modern technology is that the on buttons are often small and require you to hold down for a few seconds to turn off. The BeBox, on the other hand, has large and simple button on the back that gives you a satisfying click when you turn it on and off.
A small thing, I know, but it’s one that I appreciate.
Once you turn it on, the BeBox will quickly boot up and you’ll be greeted with a home screen just like one you’d see on your Android Phone. You’ll notice that the home, back, and tab keys will be at the top of the screen instead of at the bottom. While I would have liked button on the physical device instead of digitally on the screen, it’s still incredibly easy to use.
Your BeBox will want to connect to the internet via a wireless connection, so be sure to do that as soon as you can. If you are not prompted my the message, you should see a notification about available wireless networks in the top left-hand corner of the screen; if you don’t see that message either, you can access your wifi settings in the top right-hand screen as well. Just tap on the three vertical dots and you’ll go to your general settings. From there you can access the Wifi and connect.
Once connected, you’re going to want to link your BeBox to a Google Account. While it’s not 100 percent necessary, you will need it to download apps like Spotify or Pandora so I would strongly encourage you to do so. I would also encourage you to make up a unique Google Account instead of using your usual Gmail account.
I say this for two reasons:
- You don’t want to constantly get e-mail notifications from your boombox. There’s just something unsettling about getting a work e-mail while trying to jam out to the White Album on Spotify.
- Security. Hackers can access your data from anything with a Wifi signal, so it’s best to limit the amount of information your BeBox can access.
Once you’re connected, make sure that you download ALL system updates.
When I first turned on my BeBox I didn’t download any updates and it ran much slower than it should have. As soon as everything got updated it ran perfect, so make sure you’re up to date or you’ll be disappointed.
As soon as you’re signed into Google and connected to the internet you should be ready to start listening to music and downloading apps. It’s just that simple.
BeBox Tech Specs
- Built-in 7” LCD tablet
- 1024 x600 Resolution
- Operating System: Android OS 4.4.2
- Processor: ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor
- Speakers :
- 1x: 6.5” high performance, long throw woofer
- 2x: soft dome tweeters
- 2x: 3” midrange drivers
- Power: Battery size: ~16000 mAh | Estimated Battery Life: 8 hours
- Media support: AAC, AAC+, AAC ELD, Enhanced AAC, MP3, MIDI, Vorbis, PCM/Wave
- Inputs/outputs: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, Auxiliary (3.5 mm jack), 1x: USB (up to a 64GB flash drive), 1x: HDMI out, 1x: microSD slot (up to a 32GB card)
- Dimensions & weight: Height: 13.3 in., Width: 19 in., Depth: 5 in., Weight: 14.5 lbs
- Accessories supplied: Power supply 18V@3.5A, 3.5mm shielded stereo auxiliary cable, Cleaning cloth
The Bottom Line
You don’t need to rely on just visual entertainment to fill the time you’d usually spend watching television. Between podcasts, audio books, and the near unlimited amount of music at your fingertips; you could honestly cut television almost completely out with just your Mohu BeBox and an internet connection.
Hey cord cutters! What’s your favorite podcast? How about audio books? Sound off in the comments below let us know!