Monsoon Multimedia are taking preorders for their Vulkano set-top box, which the company reckons can replace not only your TiVo but your Slingbox and Roku too. Basically a place-shifting streamer with optional DVR functionality and various smartphone clients for remote use over 3G/WiFi, the Vulkano also promises to keep pace with new STBs; the company has said they'll be releasing updates to add Google TV compatibility, among other things.
As with a Slingbox, with the Vulkano and the right smartphone app you can remotely control channels and access the EPG; on the iPad and PC/Mac apps you can also pause live TV. UPnP streaming support allows you to display content stored on NAS or wirelessly-connected smartphones or PMPs, while Yahoo! Widgets, Netflix and Hulu compatibility is promised for the near future.
You can also view YouTube in up to 1080p HD quality, record to either 8GB or 16GB SD cards, or install up to a 1TB eSATA external hard-drive. Connectivity includes HDMI, composite, component and S-Video, among other ports, plus two USB 2.0 ports (host and device); the basic Vulkano comes with 16GB of storage for $279.99, while the Vulkano Pro comes with a 1TB external drive for $379.99. Both will ship on August 10th 2010.
Vulkano – World’s First Universal and Affordable Video Platform for Smartphones, PC/Macs, iPads and TVs
Vulkano Integrates Multiple Disruptive Technologies – DVR, Web Video, Place Shifting, Universal Plug and Play streaming and Mobile Video Recording – Eliminating Multiple Boxes
SAN MATEO, CALIF. – July 27, 2010 – Monsoon Multimedia, a leading provider of video convergence products, today announced it is now taking pre-orders for Vulkano, which is shipping in early August 2010. Vulkano is a sleek consumer device as easy to set up as a video game console. Vulkano is a tightly integrated hardware and software platform that has a powerful video processor and local storage. Vulkano in addition to replacing multiple boxes such as TiVo, Slingbox and Roku provides significant other benefits and energy savings, giving consumers tremendous performance at a low cost. Cost of a Vulkano ranges from $259 to $379, depending on storage capacity.
When connected to a set-top box and a TV, Vulkano enables a complete video experience across Android, Blackberry, iPhones, iPads, Macs, PCs and the living room TV. Vulkano allows users for the first time to experience their TV channels, videos and photos on whichever screen they want, when they want it. Vulkano will be sold through Monsoon’s www.myvulkano.com, Amazon.com, leading retailers and etailers, and through strategic OEMs.
By downloading a free software application onto their device from www.myvulkano.com, or for iPhone/iPad from the Apple App store and installing a Vulkano, consumers can watch and control any home TV channel through a wired, Wi-Fi or 3G connection from anywhere in the world. They can schedule a recording through an included EPG (electronic program guide) and transfer and watch these recordings at any time on their TV, computers, smartphones or iPad type devices. Software players for PCs/Macs and iPads also come with Pause/Live functions.
Vulkano lets users watch YouTube on their big screen TV. Moreover, by using a technology called UPnP (Universal Plug n Play), Vulkano users can stream video and photos from their smartphones, computers and cameras wirelessly on to their living room TV without having to use messy cables. In the near future, Vulkano will offer free service upgrades such as Google TV, Yahoo! Widgets, Netflix, Hulu and others.
TV set-top boxes are commonplace in households today with over 210 million shipped in 2009 alone, according to analyst firm In-Stat. The fundamental flaw in nearly all set-top boxes is that they are “closed.” Vulkano “opens” these boxes by allowing consumers to enjoy a total video experience on their smartphones, iPads, PCs and Macs, or access services such as Netflix or YouTube.
“The combination of mobile video recording on iPads/smartphones, viewing YouTube on big screen TV, DVR and Universal Plug and Play streaming changes the television and web video experience in ways never before imagined,” said Colin Stiles, EVP Sales and Marketing at Monsoon. “We are proud to the be first to deliver your live and recorded TV content immediately with a simple screen tap. Whether in your backyard or on an international flight, you’ll have your favorite programming available anywhere, anytime - live or recorded.”
“We designed Vulkano from the ground up to replace single purpose solutions, such as TiVo, Roku, Slingbox, etc,” said Steve Stone, CTO at Monsoon. “In the coming months we will be pushing new apps to Vulkano owners for free so they can rest assured that this is the first and last product they’ll need for all their TV and Internet media needs.”
Mobile Video Recording (MVR): By using Vulkano’s unique MVR technology, consumers can schedule and record content from any TV channel on to the Vulkano’s local storage and either on demand or automatically transfer the content to smartphones, computers or iPads/iPod touches. A wired, Wi-Fi or 3G connection is required and an included EPG can be used. For instance, iPad owners can schedule a recording before going to sleep and have it automatically downloaded to the iPad. It is then ready for watching anytime, anywhere at a cafe, airport, airplane, office or in one’s bed. Hundreds of recorded movies, sports events or TV shows can be stored onto the 64GB iPad for viewing anytime. PC, Mac and iPad apps also come with Direct Record, Pause and Live functions.
Place Shifting Live TV: Consumers can watch and control their home TV or TiVo from anywhere in the world, including their home.
Digital Video Recording (DVR): Users can select programs to be recorded to the Vulkano SD card or optional hard drive, which can store over a thousand programs depending on memory size. Once recorded, the programs can be downloaded to computers, smartphones or played back on living room TVs. Vulkano also allows a consumer to schedule recordings through a TiVo or other DVRs that may be built into a set-top box.
Web Video: Vulkano supports YouTube content (up to 1080p) streaming and progressive downloading for a big screen TV experience. Future software releases will add support for Netflix, Cinema Now, Amazon and free media content providers. Yahoo! Widgets will be released later this year and Google TV early next year. A fully functional web browser with media extensions (including HTML5 media support) will be released later this year.
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP): Consumers can easily enjoy photos, video and music stored on smartphones, iPads, PCs and Macs on a big screen TV by deploying industry standard UPnP technology. This capability also enables multiple UPnP devices, such as video cameras, to play directly on the TV eliminating the tedious job of plugging and unplugging cables into the TV.
State of the Industry
Hundreds of millions of TV set-top boxes worldwide are “closed” preventing consumers from accessing new services and exciting video experiences. Due to the cost and logistics involved in constantly upgrading these boxes, companies cannot keep pace with the rapid changes in technology. The result is an array of single feature boxes resolving specific issues.
Consumers today are saddled with paying for TiVo, Sling, Roku, Vudu, Apple TV and other single solutions to address their needs. This has led to a cluttered living room, multiple service fees and constant maintenance of multiple devices. They are also often difficult to install and can cost over a thousand dollars combined. Vulkano eliminates all of these issues while saving on power consumption.
Summary of Vulkano Features:
• Transforms smartphones, iPads, iPod touches, PCs and Macs into Mobile Video Recorders
• Recorded programs play back on smartphones, iPads, PCs and Macs
• Direct record mode allows for Pause, Fast Forward/Rewind
• Schedule TV recording by show, channel or date and time
• Browse EPG for shows and episode descriptions
• Mark channels as Favorite for quick access
• Watch and control your live TV on the go via Wi-Fi or 3G
• Watch at home on iPads and computers in near HD resolution
• Change channels just like at home
• Search and watch YouTube videos on your home television
• Enjoy photos, video and music on home TV from UPnP supported devices, such as smartphones, PCs/Macs and cameras
• Multiple users can have recordings on Vulkano hard-drive and access independently
• Control Vulkano features and settings through intuitive television menu
• Connect to all major TV sources - cable, DVD, satellite, DVR, TiVo
• Stream video at H.264 and MPEG-4 standards at rates as low as 150kbps
• Includes 8GB or 16GB of SD card storage or e-SATA hard drives up to 1TB
• Connects wirelessly through Vulkano’s on board .11n WiFi to home router
• TV content is passed from the set-top box’s analog output (component, composite) to Vulkano; using resolutions up to 1080i
Pricing and Availability
Vulkano is available immediately for pre-order at www.myvulkano.com and www.amazon.com. Vulkano comes with 8GB, 16GB of SD storage and Vulkano Pro comes with 500GB and 1Terabyte e-SATA hard disk storage. Vulkano will be generally available in August through selected etailers, retailers and distributors worldwide. 8GB Vulkano will cost $259, 16GB $279, 500GB for $349 and the 1Terabyte Vulkano for $379. Monsoon will release its 3G version for the recently introduced iPhone 4 in August, 2010.