The New York Times took a look at the multifunction Vulkano digital media device … and the results are not pretty. Some of the review lowlights: “it’s a train wreck” “head-banging limitations” “so many problems” “recruited as a paying beta tester” Basically, “the Vulkano box is nowhere near ready for prime time” Devastating!
Of course, I’m not entirely surprised having had a unit in my possession a few weeks. I’ve held off formally evaluating the loaner Vulkano while awaiting some significant software improvements. One update was pushed out last week and I’m told “radically” improved firmware should be available soon. As it currently stands, when I last looked, folks merely looking to placeshift their home TV programming to various desktop and mobile platforms probably won’t be disappointed. But those interested in the Vulkano’s additional features (recording, apps, etc) will want to wait on making a purchase until Monsoon improves the situation.
On a meta level, it’s somewhat unusual to see a mainstream print publication rip a startup in this way. Most wouldn’t bother wasting the print on a niche product or company, unless it’s something remarkable and worthy of consideration. (Whereas, we’ve got unlimited bytes and available pages in the blogosphere.) But, as David Pogue says, “the company asked me to review it. You would think that such a request implied a certain confidence in the product’s readiness for consumers.” Unfortunately, you only get to launch a product once. And I highly doubt Vulkano will ever be mentioned in the NY Times again, even if they resolve each and every issue.
A Monsoon rep has responded to Pogue’s critique on the Placeshifting Enthusiasts forum. Here’s an excerpt:
What the article does not mention is that ours is the only product in the market that can stream, schedule and record any TV channel from home to the PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, android and soon blackberry-anywhere in the world. We are the only company with a platform for unique services and applications; the only company that in the future will do Google TV and Yahoo Widgets thru one integrated box; the only company with excellent video streaming/recording quality across multiple clients. No one in the world can do what we do today. We have had the courage and vision to develop revolutionary technologies and products.