Vulkano Flow Mobile Device for Viewing TV on the Go
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- Watch & control your TV from anywhere in the world over Wi-Fi or 3G on any mobile device
- Record TV shows to your PC or Mac hard drive
- Pause, rewind or fast forward live or recorded TV
- Stream TV wirelessly around your home; watch TV on your deck, by the pool, or laying in bed with your iPad
- Easy to set up use; wireless set up makes installation a breeze
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Vulkano Flow let's you Watch & Control your home TV service (Cable, Satellite) from anywhere in the world over Wi-Fi or 3G on any mobile device. Watch TV on a PC, Mac, iPad, Tablets, or Smartphones like the iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry. Record favorite TV shows to a PC or Mac hard drive to watch at a later date. Watch your TV anytime, anywhere on any mobile device.
Top Customer Reviews
* 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.
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.
Set up went smoothly, but the picture was AWFUL. The rez was good, but the color pallette was like a GIF photo (256k). I contacted Monsoon and they were clueless. They asked about resolution settings on my Comcast box, and maybe the wires I was using for the connection from the Vulkano to the DVR box. Fer chrissakes, the broadcast signal takes the cable in and processes it to wi-fi. NEITHER of items have anything to do with it. The were able to log into my signal, but gave no relevant advice. So I returned i within the Amazon 30 days and bought another one.
The next one came and it had been opened by a ham-handed gorilla. the tabs were torn and he tape had ripped the overlay from the cardboard. BUT IT WORKS WONDERFULLY!! Set up was a breeze and the picture on my lap top, my phone and on my home computer in the other room is STUNNING 720p hi rez. I am happy. But I bought the 2 yr warranty for 8 bucks, and if it flakes out on my, I guess I'll try my luck on the more expensive and complicated, and non Iphone compatible Slingbox. Like I said, it works great, but there are some defective units circulating out there, and it looks like Monsoon is not supporting them or making any new ones. BUYER BEWARE.
UPDATE 7-16 Mine is working GREAT!! it's on the complete opposite end of the house from our router, and our Roku shows a weak single at that location, but this thing stays on and pumps out a GREAT signal -- to computer back in the office (kinda like the hopper), to my computer at work, to my Iphone and anywhere else I choose. COMPLETE control of all channels select, DVR, onDemand and other Comcast box functions. Never a reboot or a wrinkle. If you're having problems, keep returning it till you get one that works. Tech Support won't tell you that, but Amazon will let you for NO CHARGE within 30 days.
UPDATE 03/11/15: I am now TEN MONTHS into using this box and it's FANTASTIC!! We use it all the time when we travel - my girlfriend can clean out her DVR and schedule new shows from our hotel room ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!! I have an HDMI output on my Vaio laptop and we plug it into the hotel's TV's and it gives a better picture than many of the hotel systems. ALSO, if you record something via the Vulkano, it stores the file in a native MP4 file that can be offloaded to a USB drive, loaded onto mobile devices or burned to DVD. I often fire this up while I'm at work, set it to record something from our DVR recordings in the background, and then delete it from the DVR. I still have a copy of that show, but our DVR space is freed up. I see many other providers are offering similar "place shifter" capability, but this one's the best.