Mohu Looking to Make Cord Cutting Set Top Box

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#1
Cord cutting — getting rid of cable or satellite TV in favor of online video — certainly sounds appealing. Subscription rates continually go up and often include channels that people don't even want. But making the break is hard. If you're a fan of HBO shows, you'll be waiting a year to see them on disc or download. You're also shut out of most live content, including sports.

An antenna gets a lot of the live TV back. The major networks are required by law to transmit all their programming for free, including HD quality.

Antenna maker Mohu thinks combining broadcast and online video in one box, with one remote and interface, will be appealing enough for more people to cut the cord. The company exclusively told Tom's Guide that it plans to debut such a device by the end of the year, though it declined to specify a name or price for the device.

The Mohu device will be much more like using your old cable box than using a smart TV or a set-top box like Roku or Apple TV.

"We are taking a different approach than other providers, and we're not wanting to turn the TV into a computer," said Mohu's president, Mark Buff. Instead, the experience will be about the same as using a regular cable box. "Power on, power off, channel up, channel down," he said. He also explained the interface will feature the kind of program-grid interface common to cable TV.

That interface, however, will point to both broadcast and Internet video...
Read More: Mohu Developing Streaming Set-Top Box With TV Tuner

Mohu sold 500,000 antennas in 2012, and expect to sell 1 million units this year. Add to that a set top box that integrates OTA and OTT TV and watch as the pay-TV industry implodes. Well, maybe not that, but definitely in decline.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#2
Maybe they can get it right. Nobody else has even come close... the "holy grail" of cord cutting: A Tuner AND PVR w/ EPG that is Internet - enabled (netflix, hulu, Amazon, etc) all in one easy to use box with a remote. (And no stupid "cloud PVR" - i want recordings on MY hard drive!)

Why is such a seemingly simple device so difficult to do correctly?
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#3
Why is such a seemingly simple device so difficult to do correctly?
Because the developers don't have the same priorities that you and I have. The Boxee TV was built on the assumption that people want to watch episode long TV when not at home. I think that most people watch short clips on their smart phones, but most don't sit and watch an hour long video. Even so, there are all kinds of ways to transfer video to mobile devices that doesn't include "the cloud." Memory is cheap and readily available.
 
#4
Because the developers don't have the same priorities that you and I have.
I think it's slightly more complicated. We are still at the beginnings of the computer revolution (my def of "computer" includes any device with an MPU running programs in ROM or RAM). It's a time of tremendous upheaval, including the "upgrade madness" I've groused about. There are new ways of getting connected on an almost daily basis. A couple years ago, the only way to get all the shady internet channels I graved was to download and install countless addons, such as Silverlight, DirectX, Flash, and a dozen other names I can't remember from far less reliable sources. Today, if you have Adobe Flash, you're pretty much good to go. (I think DirectX comes standard now with XP SP3 ... maybe even SP2.)

So things do coalesce after a while. But there's no way a universal STB maker could ever negotiate contracts with all those providers. It hasn't really been that long that Netflix and Amazon have been media players online. If you want your box to play nice with them, you have to copy their content, which means copyright law comes into play -- an impenetrable morass. Even though end user has paid to look at Amazon's stuff ... even though Amazon surely profits by their content being more easily viewable ... you're still copying, and the lawyers must get their cut. Money may have to change hands, just as CATV providers have to bribe broadcast stations. The original copyright holders will have to get in there to muck things up. They don't sign away all their rights when they hook up with Netflix et al.

So fifty years from now, MAYBE there'll be some semblance of a seamless entertainment box. Maybe. Some things do coalesce when it makes sense. But think about it ... why, after all these years, don't all TVs have AM and FM radio on the dial, er, I mean in the channel list? :huh:

Rick
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#5
Rick, I don't get what you're talking about. It sounds to me like a smart TV tuner in a small compact box, or in other words, a glorified Roku box.

So what's the big deal?
 
#6
Rick, I don't get what you're talking about. It sounds to me like a smart TV tuner in a small compact box, or in other words, a glorified Roku box.

So what's the big deal?
Big deal is all the legal hassles. Doesn't Roku have to make deals with all its various providers? Mr. Pogi wants everything legally available OTA and online in one box, from one company. With the speed of change on the internet, I can't even begin to imagine.

Sure, technically it's a piece of cake. If you take away the integrated EPG there are surely people that have this all set up already -- maybe integrated with one mondo cool remote. But to create the EPG you have to essentially admit you're copying (breaking the law) the content onto your device. Individuals can do this, under court decisions per VCRs, DVRs, the sling box, etc. But companies can't do it (unless they can cook up a slick Aereo-like defence!). I know it's crazy. It is what it is.

R.
 
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