Mohu Channels Kickstarter Campaign

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Based on a tip from frequent Cord Cutter Guide contributor Len, I am pledging $79 toward Mohu’s Kickstarter campaign. For that I will receive the Mohu Channels product when it ships in June.  The Mohu product promises to do  something that has been lacking in other STB solutions: integration of over the air and web content into a single channel guide.

Example of a personal Mohu Channel Guide.  Courtesy kickstarter.com

Example of a personal Mohu Channel Guide.
Courtesy kickstarter.com

One of the main advantages of a Cable subscription is the channel guide.  The passive experience of channel surfing is enjoyable when you really aren’t sure what you want.  Having to switch between inputs and various menus makes this experience hard to replicate for a cord cutter.

Mohu Channels will let you create a custom guide based on your own preferred  “mash up” of channels.  The most important new feature here is the integration of OTA and OTT.  That in itself should at least eliminate one nuisance – having to switch from  “Antenna” to “HDMI” on your TV’s input menu.

The future of Mohu Channels  is entirely dependent on how easy that guide is to use.  One thing I have some qualms about is the remote control which is a full QWERTY keyboard. One of the design challenges here is that of making the interface easy to use without slowing it down. I agree with Mohu that on-screen keyboards are slow and painful.  But will this two hand  keyboard be intimidating to consumers?  I’ll withhold further judgement until I get one in my hands.

There is one obvious big  feature missing here — the DVR. I’m sure techy type cord cutters can assemble various combinations of Simple.TV, Channel Master, Aereo etc, but that kills the idea of having one simple box and interface. Something tells me there is another Mohu kickstarter campaign in our future.

 


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10 Responses to Mohu Channels Kickstarter Campaign

  1. Len Mullen says:

    You probably have guessed that I have purchased a Fire TV as well. If my enthusiasm drives your purchases, you will be a poor man.

    People considering the Mohu Channels should embrace that enthusiasm. Tomorrow, Mohu will publish a list of the apps that will be supported at launch. Thursday, the Kickstarter ends. I think most OTA first cordcutters will find the $89 well spent if Channels lives up to the promise.

    The ‘promise’ has been enhanced since the $35k Kickstarter goal was reached. Mohu has added the following…

    – Mohu Guide
    – Side-loaded media playback
    – OTA Time-shifting
    – 5.1 audio passthru
    – android remote app

    If the project is funded to $150k by Thursday, they will add an IOS remote app.

    Everything hinges on the app list published tomorrow. If the list includes Simple and/or Tablo apps, I think they will reach the goal.

    http://thebeersoncomcast.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/will-your-next-roku-be-a-mohu

    • Greg says:

      I looked at the Amazon Fire TV and didn’t see much new there. Except maybe it runs faster and has games. What do you like about it?

      • Len Mullen says:

        For starters, I like the hardware. Check out the specs and the ifixit teardown. I like the price and the fact that it is sold so broadly. My net cost was $75. I like the one year warranty — Roku doesn’t know you after 90 days. I like the openness — people have paired it with 3rd party keyboard and game controllers and side-loaded unapproved apps. I like the idea that it can collaborate with my Kindle Fires. I like IMDB and think I will love x-ray.

        Of course all of this is speculation. I’ll know more next week and there will be a review, of course.

        http://thebeersoncomcast.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/fire-tv-torches-competition

  2. Len Mullen says:

    actually, the list will be published MONDAY

  3. Len Mullen says:

    I’m very disappointed that Mohu failed to post a list of tested apps Monday without explanation.

  4. Len Mullen says:

    With 21 hours left in the project, I have decided to withdraw my support. I think it could be a good device for a lot of cord cutters, but not for me. Lack of Simple DVR support is kind of a big deal, but my scrutiny of the project over the last week has eroded my confidence in their ability to deliver what has been promised — never mind what many were hoping for.

    I have a Fire TV coming tomorrow and will focus my energies on that for now.

    • Greg says:

      What did they screw up?

      • Len Mullen says:

        They did not screw up. Even at $90, I think a PSIP guide plus pause/rewind is a good value for cord cutters. For those with internet as well, adding Netflix and a bunch of other streaming channels, make this a very good deal. For those a little more technical, it’s great that media can be side-loaded whether it is a format-shifted copy of Star Wars or home movies.

        The only thing missing is a DVR. If they add a Simple DVR or Plex channel in the next seven hours, I might jump back in.

        But they won’t. They can’t. They won’t say if the problem is technical, legal, or political, but there will be no DVR. In my house, the DVR is important. I have five Simple DVRs and five DTVPals. Had Channels included the Android Simple channel or a chrome browser, we could have moved on from the set top DVRs. Since we cannot and our DTVPals and their likely replacement the DVR+ have PSIP guides, there is not much reason for for me to add a box like Channels.

        If DVR+ adds Netflix and Plex, there will be a couple of those under the tree next year. Right now, I am focused on the Fire TV.

        • About that missing DVR I think you are right. The ideal cord cutter box would be a complete replacement for the Cable STB experience. That means a FRIENDLY channel guide and DVR combined.

          I also wonder about sticking Netflix in the guide as a single channel. Once you click on the “Netflix channel” then what? I expect you arrive at the Netflix scrolling boxes.

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