Friday, September 17, 2010

Monsoon Vulkano Placeshifter and Verizon Fios

A quick review of the Monsoon Multimedia Vulkano device and using it with Verizon Fios.
I recently purchased the Monsoon Vulkano placeshifter streaming device. The product is extremely new to the market, and it receiving very mixed reviews. I found it to be completely buggy, and confusing to set up (since there were no installation instructions). After thinking I had a dead on arrival unit, I finally realized that the first boot up of the box took almost ten minutes, and that is why my tv was showing no signal for the hdmi input.
However, if you are a somewhat technical computer person, you should have no issues getting things up and going, it just requires patience as you install firmware, reboot the box, configure your router (if necessary).

So, what I learned so far. (Running firmware from 9/15/2010)
  • The on screen programming guide absolutely sucks. It takes a while to load, and once it does, it only works typically one time. After that, the screen gets locked and you cannot scroll through shows. Monsoon claims that they are aware and working on this bug. The only resolution I have found to get around the on-screen programming (EPG) locking up is to reboot the device.
  • The IR blaster is a bit laggy but works okay.
  • Default settings of the player on the lan were losing a decent amount of frames for me. My vulkano is hard wired to my router, and my laptop is wireless connected (g speeds), so I dont see why this would be the case. It also is not even close to 720p resolution. I only played with settings for a minute, so I may be able to get it working better.
  • The DVR works well, and picture quality and sound are good. However, until the EPG gets fixed, it is kind of useless.
  • I did not have to configure my router at all, everything worked fine. (Actiontech Verizon Fios router). It even works on the WAN without any configuration.
  • Volume SUCKS on the streaming. I have to have my pc and the remote volume cranked just to listen to it.
  • For FIOS users, yes, you can access your multi-room dvr through the vulkano (that is connected to your cable box). In fact, for some reason, the dvr'd content coming from your verizon box seems to stream better than regular live tv.
  • For Fios users, using a digital box, in the intial configuration screen select fios. Then for the remote configuration, select Motorola as the manufacturer and then select Comcast 1375 as the actual unit. It works PERFECTLY as the remote/IR blaster for the Vulkano to the Motorola box. (I have the mototola qip 7100 cable box for fios)
  • For all users, if you have the inputs available on your tv, use them! I have my cable box direct connected to my tv via hdmi and also use the box's component video into the vulkano and the vulkano's hdmi to input 3 on my tv. This allows you to watch tv as normal when you are in the room without going through the horrible Vulkano interface (and lag with the IR blaster).
  • Would I buy again? Actually yes. The box is in its infancy, and yes it should not have been released as is. However, for someone that is technical, I will actually enjoy watching its progress and improvements.
  • If you are looking for a quick and easy plug and play solution, this device is not for you (yet)
  • Once the bugs are ironed out, and the new widgets are added, I will be extremely happy with the purchase.

I can recommend that you purchase this today.  Get it now:  Vulkano Pro 010410VP All-In-One Media Placeshifter Includes 500 GB eSATA Hard Disk, Black

    For Search Engines:
    Vulkano Review
    Monsoon Vulkano Placeshifter
    Using Verizon Fios Remote with Vulkano
    Vulkano does not have Verizon Cable box listed

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