One Device for all your Cordcutting Needs
The recently released Mohu Channels offers cordcutters the opportunity to combine all of their favorite video services and OTA signals into a single, polished interface.
(UPDATE .1.26.2016 – This product is no longer being manufactured. )
The Mohu brand is already well-respected throughout the cordcutter community for its high quality digital antennas, so the news of a new media box from the company was an exciting development. Initially placed on Kickstarter, Channels quickly surpassed its funding goal, and, beginning in late June, the highly anticipated media solution began shipping to backers. Let’s take a closer look!
The design of Mohu Channels is small and simple, but with the RF remote, you’ll probably never see it.
Mohu offers an Ethernet port for high speed internet access, though internal Wi-Fi is also available. As always I suggest using a hard-lined internet connection for an optimal streaming experience. The option for 5.1 Dolby Digital Pass-Through and an HDMI port will ensure your audio and video is in true HD. On the opposite side of the device, an RF jack for your digital antenna takes center stage. Finally, the RF keyboard allows the set-top box to hide securely out of view without limiting functionality.
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Combining Over-the-Air and Over-the-Internet viewing through a single easy to use interface.
A long-time complaint of cordcutters was the necessity of switching from an HDMI signal for set-top boxes to another input for the digital antenna. This annoying step is no longer a problem. A single, intuitive grid interface combines local channels and video streaming services into an organized menu for quick navigation. Since Channels is built on Android, you’ll also be able to add any app from the Google Play Store to your grid. This allows for a multitude of possibilities from Pandora to YouTube, all side-by-side with your OTA signal!
With Mohu Channels, you can surf the web directly from your TV!
Android integration means that you can also view HTML5 or Flash videos directly from the browser. The inclusion of a full keyboard remote control with RF signal means that navigation won’t be as tricky as with past boxes from other manufacturers. A cursor is included on-screen to help with controlling apps meant for a touch interface, and a simple tilt of the keyboard (similar to a Nintendo Wii controller) will move the cursor around the screen. Bookmarking a page will add it to your channels grid, so watching your favorite content, even on a website without an Android app, will be a breeze. An internal IR blaster will even give you control of the volume on your TV, so you shouldn’t have any need to switch remotes while viewing.
Mohu Channels isn’t a DVR, but does offer some DVR like functionality.
A feature just added called OTA time shifting will allow you to pause live programming for about 30 minutes. Skipping through commercials shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you’re willing to give your programming a head start before you begin viewing. The other thing to keep in mind is that Mohu is working tirelessly on new functionality. For example, the USB port seems like a very promising way to add DVR capabilities and media playback from a USB drive. At the moment this is not a supported feature, but I could see something like this being added in the next year or so.
A dedicated Movie Channel will let you watch your own videos via USB or media server without any hassle, which is another reason that this could be the only cable TV Alternative you will ever need.
The $149.99 price tag seems steep at first, but once you dig into the feature set, you will see that it is money well spent.
If you are in the market for a one-stop option for all of your cordcutting needs, Mohu’s new offering is a worthy contender for its centralized approach to OTA and streaming content (Mohu Pricing | Amazon Pricing).
As always, comments are welcome and encouraged. Cheers!
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If you have a Media Center PC and are interested in building your own OTA DVR – check out “Using a TV Tuner Card to build a PC based DVR for Recording OTA Free TV”. If you want to learn more about the different TiVo options out there, click here to read their full product list overview. To see a full list of OTA DVRs, and to figure out which model is right for you, read Recording Over-the-Air Channels with a Set-top Box.