Customer Reviews


229 Reviews
5 star:
 (114)
4 star:
 (54)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (23)
1 star:
 (29)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


176 of 186 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For, Maybe A Little More
When I saw that Vine was offering me a product with a suggested retail value of nearly $200, I sort of leaped before I looked. On further review I saw a technical description that was a bit over my head. Eventually, with the help of people who know a bit more about these things than I do, I figured I was getting a device which would allow me to watch TV on my computer or...
Published on June 22, 2011 by John Jorgensen

versus
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Read This Before Buying
I bought this as an alternative to the Slingbox hoping to save some money but after I got everything hooked up and working, it wasn't what I thought it would be.

As advertised, it was very easy to install as I performed the initial configuration but I could not find my cable box listed and this was where the trouble began.

I have a Motorola DCH3416...
Published on June 30, 2012 by The Reviewer


‹ Previous | 1 223 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

176 of 186 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For, Maybe A Little More, June 22, 2011
By 
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I saw that Vine was offering me a product with a suggested retail value of nearly $200, I sort of leaped before I looked. On further review I saw a technical description that was a bit over my head. Eventually, with the help of people who know a bit more about these things than I do, I figured I was getting a device which would allow me to watch TV on my computer or phone by streaming it over the ethernet in my house and over the Internet when I was elsewhere, and to record shows to one of those devices. Not quite, but close enough.

PROS:
* Installation was a breeze, with one minor exception, and it was really minor. I was a bit worried at how bare bones the installation instructions were, and the fact that they kept saying "Put this and this together and the computer will do the rest." But would you believe? It did. With two minor exceptions, which I'll address in the Cons section; but neither affects performance in any meaningful way.

* The software to play this thing on my PC can be downloaded for free.

* It does a fine job of allowing me to watch TV on my computer when I'm at home. Since my PC is a netbook that means I can carry the "TV" all over the house with me. I'm also in the market for a tablet, and if Vulkano works as well on that as it does on my computer, it will be more convenient still.

* It does a pretty good job of allowing me to watch TV on my computer when I'm elsewhere.

* Controlling the cable box from afar, whether over the ethernet or the Internet, is quick and easy.

* Live TV can be paused--which allows me to take snack and bathroom breaks on my own schedule, not built around commercial breaks or, in the case of premium channels, doing without altogether.

* If I pause a live streaming program, when I resume it I can either continue to watch it lagging behind the broadcast, or I can fast forward to catch up. Used judiciously, the latter option allows me to breeze through commercial breaks. There's also a rewind feature.

* It takes up very little room.

CONS:
Only some of these cons are the fault of Monsoon (the company that makes this product). Others are not, but detract from my enjoyment of the device nonetheless.

* The Record feature: This is my biggest problem. I was given to understand that I could set the Vulkano player to record shows to my device in advance. I cannot set it to start recording at a later time. I can set it to start recording right away, and can set the time for it to stop, so I can record a show if I'm around when it starts but won't be when it finishes. But if I'm not going to be able to use my computer when the show starts, my only option is to start recording before I leave and let it record everything that the channel is showing between the time I leave and the time my show comes on. I'll be able to fast forward, of course, but if I want to set it to record something that's hours away we're talking about a huge file.

* On further review, the ads for this product do not promise to allow me to set recordings ahead of time. Other, more expensive Vulkano players do include this feature. The PC Player uses a one-size-fits-all interface that keeps teasing me with commands that would allow me to set such recordings, and every time I try to use them it says "Not available on Flow."

* Even this limited record feature is only available if I'm close enough to home to use my ethernet. I can't record over the Internet because the otherwise-smooth automatic installation couldn't open some port or other. This is one of the two minor criticisms of the installation I mentioned above.

* The other is even less of an issue: The product includes most of the cords and wires and so on needed to make the player work, but not to connect the player to the TV set. Connecting it to the TV is described in the instructions as an optional step. It just means I can't use the Vulkano player to turn on the TV; and if I wanted to watch the TV I wouldn't be using the player anyway.

* A minor problem for me, but no doubt a much larger problem for many other people, is that it just won't work on my phone. Since I have a highly portable netbook and am in the market for a tablet, I don't anticipate using the phone to watch anyway. But if I wanted to, I couldn't, because the BlackBerry app doesn't run on my Curve. And even if it did I wouldn't pay the $13 to download it. Monsoon Multimedia puts out a free Vulkano Player app for all their other devices, but they made the Flow so that it specifically requires an app that costs top dollar. For shame!

* For some stupid reason, the episode guide, which gives me each channel's schedule and is the fastest and easiest way to change channels, doesn't go past Channel 99. Now it's not hard to enter a three-digit channel; I need only call up the remote control feature. And there are work arounds to get the schedules of other channels, too, though they tend to involve Googling the channel's site rather than working within the Vulkano Player. It's still irritating.

* I can't access On Demand. I'm not sure whether that's the Flow's fault or my cable provider's, but either way, this just compounds the problem of the Record feature's limited usefulness.

* Over an Internet connection it will take up to several minutes to make contact with the player. That's probably a problem with Internet service providers. Once contact is made the streaming video is usually, but not always, flawless: Obviously the slower the Internet, the more trouble you'll have streaming, but it seems to be able to work with some pretty low bandwidths.

* The Flow is limited by the cable box to which it's connected, meaning that, if I change the channel, and someone else is watching TV, I've changed the channel for that person. If you're looking for a way to let multiple people watch different shows at the same time, you'll need to keep looking.

* Every time I click on the PC Player, the User Access Controls block it until I approve it; and after I approve it, it still won't necessarily open. I've had to click at least two times every single time I've used it, and often three, with the UAC box coming up every time. The fault for this lies with Windows, and it's a pretty minor problem, certainly.

* The power cord's plug is one of thosebig honking plugs that partly blocks the outlet next to or below it. Really, why are electronics companies still designing power cords that way in this day and age?

I made the Cons list as extensive as possible for the sake of prospective customers who might have preconceptions about what the Flow does and how it works and would get hung up on the lack of whatever features they were counting on. But most of that list, other than the Record feature and the outrageously priced BlackBerry app, feels like nitpicking even to me. This is, in the end a quality product that does everything it promises to do and most of what I'd like it to do, is easy to use and easier still to install, and has left me very satisfied. I'm not certain I'd pay the $189 list price, but Amazon's now offering it for a Prime-eligible $109.95, and that strikes me as a very good value, even taking into account the need to purchase some other device to allow you to record shows.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small things could make a big improvement - UPDATED, July 2, 2011
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Vulkano Flow is an easy way to stream TV to your PC. There are several things to like about the player:
* The low price point
* The virtual remote is an exact onscreen copy of the set top box remote for my U-verse TV
* Once set up, streams wired or wirelessly

But there are several things that could make this inexpensive player better:
* Component and composite are the only connection choices
* It takes 4 sets of cables to hook everything up to a TV - 2 of which are included
* Installation and configuration of the box could only be done wirelessly on my Windows 7 laptop
* There is no application for Windows Phone 7 to access content via the player
* The top of the box is very textured and will be very difficult to keep clean
* The top of the box is slightly arched so nothing can rest on top of it
* Stays quite warm so it must use a bit of electricity

Although the Flow does not have internal storage, the fact that I can control my home DVR via the interface makes that a moot point. Also, it will pause video or record what is currently watched by using the PC hard drive.

UPDATE July 2012: I have really got to like the Vulkano Flow more and more. Whatever you install the software on becomes a DVR for the device (if it has the memory of course). This means you can record your favorite shows onto your phone, laptop etc. while on your home network and then play them back later without the need for a data connection (great for traveling).

The best is the app for the Kindle Fire. It works very well streaming over Wi-Fi or recording to the device. The application also works really well with my AT&T U-verse receivers for tuning channels etc. The picture quality is very good even on the medium setting.

Finally, You do not need to hook the Flow up to your TV to set it up if you have a wireless network so the two sets of cables included should do the job.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works great., August 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
The product works great. I have been using it for over a month. I had it setup in about 20 minutes although I was not using Wifi since I had an ethernet jack in my equipment closet. My router is a little bit older so the intial setup software failed to automatically make the router changes to allow streaming from outside of my home network. I just followed the advanced setup and manually setup the port forwarding. I also gave my Vulkano a static IP address but my guess is these steps wouldn't be required for most users.

I am using the PC app (wifi), Ipad app (wifi or wifi tethered to my phone using 3G) and the Android app (Samsung galaxy phone using 3G) without any issues. It is actually much faster than I expected and the video quality is what I expected. We recently took a 6 hour road trip and the kids were able to watch TV/DVR/On Demand using the ipad tethered to my cell phone for most all of the trip. Obviously this was dependent on cell phone coverage.

It was exactly what I was looking for. All of the features of a slingbox at about half the price.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great device, but price has gone way up!, September 19, 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
In less than a week, the price of the Flow has risen on Amazon Prime from $99 to $189. Apparently the word is getting around that the Flow is a real Slingbox killer.

I used a Slingbox for six years and replaced it with the Flow. I was ready for HD remote viewing (which my first-model Slingbox did not do) and I wanted to be able to record shows with the device, which no Slingbox will do. So here is my review:

Summary:
Very versatile and useful device with easy installation, great picture, recording capability and comprehensive software suite. Needs to be a little more user friendly, though, for computer viewing.

Installation:
The Flow installed simply and easily on my Win7 machine. Follow the steps in the little book and you can't go wrong. Would be nice if the Flow had HDMI input from the cable settop box, but it doesn't. It has only Composite and Component. I first used the component cables from Comcast that came with the STB, but got a very poor picture. Switched to the cables included with the Flow and it was great. No separate component audio cable is included, just use the included composite cable's audio leads.

No CD is included. You must download a 113MB instillation file from their web site (direct address in documentation) and install from it. Not a problem. You use the same download to install the player on other computers.

You will need your STB's manufacturer name and device name to set up the Flow. Once I entered this information into the setup dialogs, everything, well, Flowed without a hitch. I set the Flow up originally for wireless connection. It found my N-speed network effortlessly and that was done. Word of advice: once the setup is complete and you open the player software, go to settings to make sure that it did set up like you directed. I had specified component video in the setup, but what took was composite, so I switched it back and suddenly the people in the picture weren't green anymore.

After the original installation was complete, I then connected it to my router with ethernet cable. Wireless mode stayed on and I was then getting 1GB connection through the 10/100/1000 ethernet port.

Installing on my notebook and away-office computer was a snap. Just understand that when it asks you whether you want to set up or install the player, player is the right answer because you have already set up with the original installation.

You connect all remote viewing stations to the device simply by entering your logon and password, which you select at setup.

I also downloaded the $12.99 Android Vulkano Flow app; the free Vulkano Player app will not work. Using an HTV Incredible, 3G only, on Verizon I got a some jerkiness on the HD channels but all was smooth and clear on the non-HD channels. But as you may imagine, watching HDTV on a smartphone drains your battery like pouring water from a bucket.

Viewing Experience:
The only place I get true HD is on my ethernet-connected computer. Via N-wifi or cable internet remotely, I get widescreen in SD quality. (On wifi it is actually halfway between SD and HD, I think.) Android resolution appears HD, probably only because the picture is so small. But on the phone it is a distinction without a meaningful difference.

There are only three screen sizes: 1X, 2X and full screen. The viewing box is not user resizable, a significant shortcoming in my view. The picture is also surrounded by icon borders and controls that cannot be made to disappear. All this means that the Flow viewer takes up a LOT of real estate on your computer screen and there is nothing you can do about it. In full screen mode all non-picture elements go away and the screen is filled only with picture. But then you can't use your computer as, well, a computer.

The user interface is the same across all viewing devices.

Recording:
A huge, glaring weakness in an other wise excellent product. You can record from any computer, but the recording will deposit onto that computer, not on the "base" computer. It records to MP4 and is space efficient on the hard drive. When I tried to edit an MP4 recording using Avidemux, it caused the video and audio to de-synchronize on the edited version. Bummer.

Another flaw: You must keep the same player open the entire time the program is being recorded, meaning that you can't start recording on your notebook and continue watching on your desktop. The Flow allows only one player to be open at a time.

The major problem is that you cannot set the recording to begin later. If you want to record, say, a show on the EPG that starts in two hours, you highlight the show on the EPG, press the red record button, and select "record this show." And it will, but the recording begins immediately, not when the selected show begins. You can also manually set when recording should end, but not when it is to begin. Recordings always begin immediately. This is a MAJOR flaw in the Flow and is one reason I gave the Flow three stars in ease of use and design.

Electronic Programming Guide:
You can use this not only to see what is playing but also to change channels. Just double click.

Overall, glad I got it, glad to keep it. I only hope the design flaws and user interface will be addressed in software updates.

Update: Price has dropped to $106 again. Definitely worth that price. I also paid another $12.99 to download the software onto my Toshiba Thrive tablet. Works fine but it is not software made for Android 3.1 or a 10.1-inch display. Impossible to get HD on the Thrive. Presumably this will be updated but right now the picture is not very good. (Update: "When in doubt, read the directions." The problem was that the Thrive-side player was not set to HD quality. Fixed that and now get true HD on the Thrive.
Fantastic picture!)

I am also now getting HD via my home wifi when I did not before. However, the software has a habit of randomly crashing on my notebook, mainly by freezing. Sometimes it just drops out of HD and plays SD. Closing and restarting after a short wait corrects this but it is highly aggravating when it happens.

----------------
Update, a few weeks later: Today the IR Blaster physically broke on the inside of the base unit and so I cannot change channels remotely any more. The broken part rattles inside the units when I tilt it. Also, the Vulknao has developed the highly aggravating habit of simply powering off and random and will not come back on unless I physically unplug it from the wall and reconnect. I am barely within the return period so back it goes. However, I still like the device enough to request replace it rather than refund. So here's hoping the quality is higher on the replacement device.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am amazed, but it actually works!, January 24, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
I travel a lot, and I am actually writing this review from the Middle East on a desktop while watching my tv back in America on my Ipad. This thing works, plug it in, I would recommend hardwired, and start watching. It did give me a couple of hiccups on setup, the remote would not work on the ipad/iphone/computer, and training it seemed to be spotty, so I switched out the cable box with another one from another room and like magic it worked. I probably could have called tech support and got the first box to work, but I didn't have the time or patience. It is like a magic little box! I think it is simple enough for those mediocre tech knowledge to set up, especially if you are using a newer cable/satellite box whose remote control is more likely to be supported by the Vulkano. Either way, it was pretty simple to figure out, and I highly recommend this solution to anyone looking to watch on the run. I have it on my Iphone, Ipad, laptop, with no problems at all, my only hope is that it stays that way. On a side note, I think the $10-$15 for the Iphone/Ipad app is perfectly reasonable, especially considering the unit cost in the $100 range (cheap), this unit is a great economical solution to a problem that has been dogging me without a solution for a number of years.

UPDATE - Been 7 months and I was able to watch the NHL playoffs with no problems at all! The quality is great, and I have no complaints at all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, January 30, 2012
By 
Eddie (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
I was interested in getting a slingbox, but found this alternative. Being cheaper and having wifi capability I decided to get this over the slingbox.

It was fairly easy to setup. (a tad long) I would get someone to help if you are not very tech savvy. The device is connected to my 802.11n network over the 5ghz band and it streams nicely onto my iOS devices. It hiccups initially but smooths out in a min or so.

I'm using it on a Standard Definition Direct TV box with composite cables... so no experience with HD. It has component hookups but no HDMI.

The iOS/Android app is $12.99, a lot cheaper then the Slingbox App! If your streaming over a computer the software is Free.

All in all it serves its purposes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Read This Before Buying, June 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
I bought this as an alternative to the Slingbox hoping to save some money but after I got everything hooked up and working, it wasn't what I thought it would be.

As advertised, it was very easy to install as I performed the initial configuration but I could not find my cable box listed and this was where the trouble began.

I have a Motorola DCH3416 cable box with Comcast and this is a very common box so I was surprised I couldn't find it listed. I couldn't find a remote control that worked with all of the buttons on the virtual remote so I attempted to program the Vulkano Flow box manually one button at a time on the remote. It took me about 30 minutes to program and after I went through all the buttons, I found out that only a handful of the buttons were successfully programmed even though I got confirmation that the signal was received. They even had the ability to have custom buttons you could program on the virtual remote but there was no way to assign them to a particular button. The custom buttons are misleading because they don't do anything.

After giving up, I clicked around and was able to find a comparable IR remote control setting that would work with my cable box but I still had buttons missing.

Once I had the opportunity to play around with the Vulkano Flow, I realized that all the DVR buttons on all the virtual remote controls that were compatible with my cable box were blanked out and unable to select. My only reasoning for this is because Monsoon wants the end user to use their pause, fast forward, rewind, and record functionality on the local program. I wanted full functionality of my DVR because why record something on a dedicated PC or laptop when if you want to watch it on the go?

After about four hours of trying to figure this all out, I RMA'd it back to Amazon the day after I had received it and ordered a Slingbox instead. When I received the Slingbox, I had it working in about 10 minutes with full functionality of the Comcast remote control.

At the end of the day, if you don't have a DVR and use basic cable or don't care about having access to the DVR functions, the Vulkano Flow is the product for you. Otherwise, buy a Slingbox.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flow On, May 2, 2011
By 
Ubiq (Palm Springs, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
First, this device does not record, nor is it claimed to have storage capability. See the more expensive Vulkano models for that. It does sling recorded content, however. It's just that that content must first be recorded on your set-top receiver's dvr or computer. You can control recording to those devices from the Flow's interface. So the griping about using the flow as a recording device is unwarranted, in my view.

Slinging content over the internet to devices not connected (wired or wireless) to your home network is dependent on your upload connection speed. HD requires about 1.5 Mbps. Typical home ISP's provide about 750 Kbps or less. So unless you've upgraded your service, consider that standard def is about the best you'll get on the road.

Where the Flow should shine is in the closed loop of home intranet, basically eliminating the need for additional set top boxes and adding the ability to connect wirelessly. Say, to watch cable on your laptop from bed or to watch Dish on your PC. The underlying computation is how much is it worth to you to avoid extra box rentals and cable runs.

Unfortunately, in my case, this is all hypothetical as my Flow arrived in a defective condition. Vulkano's tech help was competent and useful in determining this; but they didn't offer to replace it. I'm now awaiting an RMA from the Marketplace seller, GizmosForLife. We'll see how that goes.

Update: Replacement Flow arrived; works flawlessly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purchase Vulkano instead of Sling Box, May 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
I have had Sling Box for over 5 years and considered the service support as the worst of any technical company I have witness and associated (I am a Systems Engineer/Physicist). Sling Box's service is almost like being "BLACKMAILED" for technical assistance. I purchased the Vulkano Flow and have enjoyed better service and support without pulling out by credit card for assistance. I only paid $84.00 for the Vulkano Flow and it performance has been better than the Sling Box Pro. I suggest that when you can not get adequate assistance from the Sling Box Technical Staff PURCHASE A VULKANO PRODUCT TO REPLACE THE SLING BOX and fight against "Planned Obsolescence" and "poor technical service" exhibited by Sling Box!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good hardware, very poor support, *does not work on iOS 7*, September 19, 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go (Personal Computers)
I have mostly enjoyed using my Vulkano flow for the past several years. Once you have it up and running with the various (pay) apps, it works very well. However, if you have any problems, the company has very poor support. With the release of iOS 7, please know that the Vulkano apps for iPad and iPhone DO NOT WORK. And since there is no way to downgrade from iOS 7 to an earlier release, if you do the upgrade you are stuck with no access to your Vulkano.

This has been reported to Vulkano for some time now, but there is no promise of iOS 7 support and, of course, no timeline. There is a message on the company's support page acknowledging that their iOS viewer apps do not work under iOS 7 and advising customers not to do the iOS 7 upgrade. Unfortunately, I did not see that fine print before doing the upgrade and rendering my iPad much less useful than before.

Also, the Belkin @TV iOS 7 apps have the same problem. Since this device appears to be a rebranded Vulkano, we can only hope that pressure from the somewhat more formalized Belkin company to produce an iOS 7 compatible viewer app will result in some response from Vulkano.

For now, I recommend not purchasing Vulkano if you plan to view the output on any type of i-device.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 223 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go
$109.99 $99.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.