Simple.TV 2 HDTV Tuner Hardware Review

Simple.TV 2 HDTV Tuner Hardware Review

Oct 15, 2014

One of the biggest aspects of mobile technology is the ability to be entertained on the go. As streaming options become more ubiquitous, we are beginning to see more and more options for making our smartdevices even better media hubs.

So what happens when we toss together a media tuner with DVR sensibilities, a connected device, a usable companion app and the enviable drive to cut the cable cord? One might get an interesting device called Simple.TV 2.

This unit has several elements, and to completely test it out, Simple.TV sent us a monster review package that contained the Simple.TV and other pieces that are NOT usually sold with its own unit: an external hard drive and an HDTV antenna. These, along with a Simple.TV account and the companion Simple.TV Android app, are slated to work wonders.

The setup is fairly intuitive, even if a bit hectic in parts; the antenna goes up, and it (along with the hard drive are connected to the tuner itself. The tuner also needs to be connected physically to an internet-ready modem. The final pieces are to register the Simple.TV unit and find stations online via the scan utility. Now, I did find this part to be temperamental, but when it worked, I was blown away by the quality of the stream. It looked good, and sounded good. Individual series can be recorded, and live TV is also available. The “Guide” utility allows one to manage shows and to check available stations, and it is possible to search shows as well.

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My biggest gripes are the number of extra elements needed to make the stream happen, and the wired aspect of said elements. As noted, one needs an antenna, hard drive, and wired ethernet connection, in addition to power; the wired ethernet limits placement somewhat. I think a built-in hard drive would be an advantage; I think even the potential increase in sticker price would be worth get rid of one more accessory’s accessory. To be fair, the other elements can be used in other endeavors.

The channel scan can be a bit finicky as well, and there can be discrepancies in what is found on this and other similar peripherals. I would have also liked more control from within the application.

Is it it worth it? With soaring cable costs and the ability to use this setup with TVs and mobile devices, it’s definitely worth a look.

Bitbop Available for Android

Bitbop Available for Android

Sep 23, 2010

Bitbop seems to have a leg up on rival Hulu when it comes to the Android Market. Bitbop provides streaming mobile video to a number of devices, and has recently announced its support for Android. The app is now available (for certain devices) and can be downloaded directly from their website (you will not find it in the Android Market so don’t even bother looking). Right now they are offering a free trial of up to 3 shows over a 7 day period. After the 7 days you will be charged the subscription price of $9.99, which is comparable to Hulu plus.

Some key features to consider are Bitbops ability to offer full length tv shows (movies to be available soon on a pay-per-view basis) without the commercials and they also offer the option to download for later viewing which has yet to be offered by Hulu. The services works over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi but the obvious advantage to everyone out there reading this is the fact that it is available for Android. While their library of content is below that of Hulu’s they do offer some exclusive content not yet available to Hulu. As for viewing quality, I would say it was fair (I was viewing on my Motorla Droid) and did an acceptable job of automatically optimizing video quality.

Taking into consideration the fact that Hulu (currently only available for some i-devices) has yet to support an Android app and other major players such as Netflix have yet to even release an app makes Bitbop pioneers of their market. This early multiple device support may be enough for them to gain enough subscribers to further their viability.

For those of you who can’t wait, go sign up for the free trial and see if it’s for you. Personally I use my trusty slingbox/slingplayer combo to watch live tv & on demand content whenever I want so this doesn’t really appeal to me. This also holds keeps me busy until Netflix releases an app which hopefully will allow me to integrate my subscription into mobile viewing. With Blockbuster mobile content, Netflix coming, and Hulu sure to offer support for additional platforms I can’t help but think Bitbop needs a few more tricks up their sleeves to be competitive. With that said, kudos to you Bitbop for supporting us Android users quicker than the rest and for also allowing for added choice. A collective thanks and good luck.

Source: VentureBeat