Hands On With HAVA

Dave Zatz —  December 20, 2006
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First seen at CES last January, the HAVA place shifting device began shipping in August. Initially Monsoon Multimedia offered one box with WiFi to stream your home television feed, but they’ve since changed gears and are now offering two cosmetically redesigned boxes: one with WiFi @ $250, one without @ $200. Unlike competitors Slingbox and Sony’s LocationFree, Monsoon is also licensing their technology as an OEM to Pinnacle Systems.

For the last several months, I’ve spent some time with two loaner HAVA boxes. When reviewing any placeshifting technology, the obvious comparisons to market leader Sling Media must be made. With that in mind, here’s what I found given the comparable video quality:

HAVA Pros

  • Built-in WiFi and component connections.
  • Ability to record live stream.
  • Sleek software GUI with simple setup.

HAVA Cons

  • Limited software functionality.
  • Windows-only for the moment.
  • Could not receive feed over EVDO. (Tech support blamed Sprint’s upload speeds…)

So what’s the bottom line? If you’re a Windows-only user with a need for built-in wireless or unscheduled recording: HAVA’s worth looking at. Though… I’d probably suggest waiting a few months until Monsoon works out some of the software kinks and adds functionality to better compete with Sling Media’s more mature player.

Check out some pics after the break and hit me with questions in the comments.

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The HAVA box. Boy, that slogan sure looks like Sling Media’s.

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Several inputs, all with corresponding outputs.

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The HAVA installation wizard.

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The HAVA software player in action.

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HAVA’s internals.


Pinnacle’s PCTV To Go versus HAVA.

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HAVA versus Slingbox Pro

5 responses to Hands On With HAVA

  1. the hava pro hd dominates hands down. double the resolution, multiple users can enjoy it, and totally wireless.

  2. That resolution info is outdated and based on a unit Sling Media no longer manufactures — the Slingbox models released in September have comparable resolutions (640×480) to the HAVA (720×480) over the LAN and can actually be configured to offer higher resolutions (than HAVA’s fixed 320×240) over the WAN if your home bandwidth supports it. In real world usage (I simultaneously had possession of all 6 US Sling and HAVA/PCTV TO Go models) the video quality is similar on the LAN and at 320×240 on the WAN — In my opinion, it’s a wash when deciding between vendors.

    Multicasting (LAN only) sounds like a cool feature, but in reality *I* haven’t found much practical use for it especially since everyone must watch the same channel.

    WiFi is nice and Monsoon implemented it very well — setup was a breeze with my laptop temporarily acting as a peer-to-peer access point while configuring the HAVA.

  3. Actually, the HAVA can stream full 16:9 DVD resolution while the SlingBox Pro can only stream/”Sling” full 4:3 DVD resolution.

    hjackson

  4. Sling will also do 16:9, though I guess that would drop down the vertical resolution. I stand by my statement that visual quality between them is very similar.
    While we’re talking resolution, I know that the new Sling encoders are capable of higher-than-640×480 resolutions — it’ll be interesting to see if/when the software is updated to support it. (I don’t know if HAVA is capable of anything higher, but that’s a good question to ask them when I next touch base.)

    Last, but not least, HAVA has a new software release out this week (1.6) which I’ll be installing this weekend.

  5. Is it possible to schedule recordings with this unit?

    Are there any limitations in using Directv with this?

    Since I have an RF remote with Directv already I assume it would be ok to use it with this and forgo some MCE remote functioanlity?