A Wireless Antenna With Video Streaming Integration
One frustration you do hear from cord cutters who rely an over-the-air (OTA) antenna, is that there’s not a smooth way to integrate that OTA signal with your streaming services. Sure, you can switch between input settings on your television; but then you have to find the remote, select the correct setting, and then somewhere along the way you just sort of lose that feeling of having an all-in-one entertainment experience.
But luckily for us, Mohu has come up with a simple solution. It’s called the AirWave, and it just might be the answer to your cord cutting prayers.
Let’s take a look at what we know:
What is Mohu AirWave?
The AirWave is a brand new OTA antenna from Mohu that’s on the cusp of hitting the market (October 8th 2017). On its face, it looks like just another OTA antenna. You can watch all of your favorite network television shows in 1080i HD, there’s no subscription, etc…
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But, what make the AirWave different is not the content it delivers, but rather how that content is delivered.
To start, the AirWave is completely wireless. Yes, we are talking about a wireless antenna. Instead of hooking it up to your TV, like other OTA antennas, the AirWave broadcasts its signal directly to your streaming device through an app called Mohu TV.
Mohu TV App
Imagine you are browsing through all the apps available on your media streaming player, mobile phone, tablet or any WiFi connected device. You have Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV etc… Now imagine having your OTA channels bundled up into an easy to access app, that sits right beside your other streaming apps.
The app, for example, will be available in your Roku channels list alongside the likes of Netflix, HBO GO, etc.. Once you actually click into the Mohu TV app, you will then have access to your OTA channels and a few free streaming channels that Mohu in the process of curating.
Want to watch Football, for Free, in your pajamas, on your Tablet, while you lie in bed on Sunday? DONE.
To be clear, AirWave does not integrate third-party streaming services into the guide. Those apps will remain separate and available within your media player’s menu.
The guide itself, from all reports, is surprisingly well done. You can view OTA television schedules from as far out as 14 days; which even some cable guides can’t do.
Video Quality and Streaming
To help improve picture quality, the AirWave also uses something called “ClearPix” technology. Essentially, what it does is improve your picture by automatically select the best internal configuration of your antenna, which is based on your location and signal strength.
Although we don’t know for sure how well “ClearPix” technology works, since the AirWave hasn’t been released, an early review from the folks over a CNET claim that “the streaming worked perfectly smoothly — indistinguishable from the Netflix’s or Hulu’s of the world.” John Falcone, CNET
The AirWave also sports a Ethernet port for those of you worried about the reliability of a using just wifi.
Better yet, they went on to say that, according to Mohu executives, is that all of the video compression is handled by the AirWave itself. What that means for you is that if you don’t have a top-tier, state-of-the-art, streaming device, you should still be able to experience a seamless streaming experience.
It has also been discovered that the AirWave will allow for multiple OTA streams from different devices, but there’s no word on how many streams will be allowed.
Room for Growth
Unfortunately, not everything about the AirWave is being well received. Most notably, people have been pointing out the AirWave’s conspicuous lack of DVR support and the fact that it only work with devices connected to the same WiFi network.
However, there has been an equal amount of talk about the possibility of Mohu adding those features later on. Since there are no USB ports on the AirWave, we can assume that the DVR features would be cloud-storage based.
Now for some of you cord cutting veterans, the description of AirWave might be giving you flashbacks of Aereo and the litany of legal troubles that followed it. But thankfully this time around things are a little different.
Using an antenna to watch OTA television has always been legal, and the AirWave actually is an antenna. The only different between AirWave and something like the Mohu Leaf, is that AirWave just makes it easier to watch. No legal problems here.
AirWave Device Support
For device support, the AirWave is poised to offer coverage comparable to most other streaming platforms. The current list of supported devices are: web browsers, Roku, Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, iOS, and Android.
Sorry, no support for gaming devices… Yet.
When reviewing this product, and thinking about what else out in the market offers a similar experience, three devices came to mind:
- Tablo is a small black box that records over-the-air content and streams it to a wide array of connected devices.
- AirTV is a media player that connects to your OTA antenna and beams live broadcast TV directly into your Sling TV application. From there, you can view live local OTA television from anywhere that you can watch Sling TV.
- SiliconDust HDHomeRun CONNECT is a TV tuner that connects to your home router; which in turn provides access to your OTA channels from any WiFi connected device.
As previously mentioned, the AirWave has not yet hit the market; but when it does it will reportedly sell for around $150. While that may seem a little pricey, especially compared to a $30 antenna, you have to consider how advanced this device really is.
Not only are you getting free OTA television (which pays for itself in less than a year), but you’re also getting a tool that will finally help consolidate your entertainment experience. No more searching for the remote, switching inputs, or any of the other little things that slow you down.
All in all, the AirWave is an exciting device that holds a lot of promise. Put this antenna on your cord cutting watch list, because I don’t think it’s the last time you’ll hear about it.
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