Where’s the Vulkano Review?

Several of you have checked in with me, wondering if or when I’ll be taking a look at the multi-function Vulkano — a device that is something more than a Slingbox-esque placeshifter, by also incorporating recording capabilities along with local media and Internet video streaming to a television.

And I can tell you my review loaner arrived nearly two weeks ago, yet I haven’t done much with it. Partially due to a vacation, but also as a courtesy to Monsoon Multimedia. You see, I expect them to handle the placeshifting functionality just fine (as covered on Gadling), given their history with the HAVA line… So it’s the new features I’m most interested in checking out. However, their single Internet TV app (YouTube, pics below) can’t seem to pipe audio to my television over HDMI and the one recording I took a look at on the iPhone was unwatchable given how far the audio and video were out of sync.

Monsoon’s reps say there’s a significant firmware update in the pipeline. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they’ll work out some of these early issues, and I’ll revisit the Vulkano in a few weeks. In the interim, if there’s anything you’d like me to test or questions you’d like answered, hit me in the comments.

Click to enlarge:

14 thoughts on “Where’s the Vulkano Review?”

  1. I’m still intrigued by the device, as I would like to add an HD placeshifter to my lineup. But I’m a little underwhelmed by the potential of the device on the local TV side.

    You’ll still need to lease a STB from your provider (or purchase a standalone OTA HD tuner) since there’s no OTA or clear QAM input. If you rely on the Vulkano as your sole DVR, then you give up dual-tuner recording capability.

    I don’t know, but I think that the feature set is a step back compared to what’s already available.

    I suspect that I’ll end up adding a Slingbox Pro HD to my equipment, rather than a Vulkano.

  2. Generally happy with my Slingbox. Yes if I didn’t have it hooked up to an old Tivo the extra DVR capabilities might be useful, but your review so far certainly isn’t inspiring.

    I will say that Sling needs to work on their iPhone app. It works totally fine, but the UI is really quite impenetrable. I find it easy enough to figure out, but my wife just can’t use it. Very oddball. And by now there should be an iPad version with a properly rendered Tivo remote. Hey Sling! I paid $29 for the damn thing. How about an update here or there?

  3. The Vulkano has been a disaster for early adopters. Just check out the forum. What I would like to know at this point is whether the Slingbox Pro actually delivers something like HD. If it does, I think I am ready to abandon the Vulkano.

  4. They just released a Vulkano Firmware update to Version 568.76, So maybe it would be a good time to set up yours and have it install the latest update to see if it fixes your HDMI issue or the Sync issue.

  5. Brandon,

    I am actually getting more stuttering video and out of sync audio on 568.76 than I was before the update. Very frustrating to say the least.

  6. Well I have several Vulkano setups done in Germany the UK and for myself in Taiwan. If you want good streaming setup a static IP on the router for the Vulkano. Cass you can try mine if you like.

    I have no problems with the video or audio sych. PS after a firmware upgrade I always do a factory reset as a matter of course. I just did a manual upgrade using the PC Wizard. 2 files to upload and it ran fine.

    Vulkano Iphone streaming is unmatched by the sling app for Iphone thats for sure.


  7. This Post is quite Old one. There has been a tremendous improvement in the product (Picture Quality, AV Sync, EPG Improvement, etc) since its launch. I had pre ordered one and now I am a happy camper! Tech Support is really something that makes a huge difference when it comes to electronic gadgets. In my case, Monsoon Technician worked until they got me running everything that my Vulkano has to offer.

  8. After a very difficult time getting a functional device, my Vulkano i sup and running perfectly. Superior to my slingboxes for streaming and the iPad/iPhone viewers are great (and free, i might add) Need to look at this device with the current firmware and prepare to be surprised.

  9. I have my doubts that “Martin” is a real Monsoon/Vulkano customer…

    Rob, thanks for the update. I checked in with the PR folks again and they’ve asked that I wait a bit longer. So there must be some more improvements on the way.

  10. I am mainly interest in the Vulkano as a PVR, for timeshifting & watching on an hdtv. Not really interested (at this time) in placeshifting. I’d like to know how good the playback quality is of Vulkano recorded TV programs? Also how complex is the whole operation of record to view using the Vulkano? I know there have been issues with their EPG, at least according to the users-is it really that bad?


  11. Vulkano…Sold before its time…
    Is it possible that Monsoon has fixed all the BIG bugs that possessed it just a few months ago? read:


    I would like very much to have a gizmo that does everything that the Vulkano promises to do. I’ve had Slingbox for 5 years and desperately would like a magical box that will both stream and record.

    However, from all the bad press I’ve read, Vulkano has too many bugs and shortfalls:

    Setup port forwarding issues
    TV Guide 30 second sluggish delay
    No auto record shows weekly
    Bad Conflict recording dialogue options
    Video format interchanging problems
    “Dog slow” rewind/fastforward
    No skipping over commercials
    No jumping on timeline
    You can’t actually watch steaming content on the internet via Vulkano
    Can’t watch live TV and record at the same time

    I’m better off buying a slingbox and dvr…this gives me all the options. Or…get the slingbox version of the DirectTV DVR.

    I would be thrilled if Monsoon would prove they have solved all these issues, I’d buy one today.

    But I would never buy the Vulkano today for fear I’m being charged just to be a beta tester. For now, they should be giving them away.

  12. I had the HAVA HD PLatnum and spent a good two days gettign the damn thing to work with little to no help from support, after that I loved it with the exception of an unseamless exsistance in windows media center (trouble with upper channels). It worked fine as a DVR on my compouter if I manually turned it on, so from a hotel, i used GOTOMYPC to log on to home computer, turn on hava, set channel and manually record a show. PAIN IN THE>> Now for no apparent reason the damn thing won’t do anything, the lights go from 1 to 3, says it isn’t available. They won’t be getting any more of my money.

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