Third Gen Vulkano Placeshifters Poised For Launch

Dave Zatz —  September 8, 2011


Monsoon Multimedia’s third generation of Vulkano placeshifters are nearly upon us given this FCC filing. While the current Flow, Lava, and Blast model names will be retained, the Vulkano 3 enclosure has been entirely redesigned. Dispensing with their elongated Slingbox-esque plastics, Monsoon is going with a square footprint this time around – perhaps in the neighborhood of 7.5″ x 7.5″. Presumably, the hardware internals will also see some revision as well… to bring down manufacturing costs and hopefully enable high def streaming, which is still notably absent. Then again, the Vulkano line offers perks Slingbox owners have yet to see – namely integrated WiFi and video recording capabilities.

The original Vulkano “God box” failed to meet my expectations, but the company rebounded with the barebones $99 Flow placeshifter — which I found to be a solid value at $99. Meanwhile, Monsoon has continued to refine the Vulcano placeshifting experience with updates including recent firmware (July) and Windows software (September) upgrades.

And, if all that wasn’t enough, the Vulkano Flow will be available in Canada any day now for $99 CAD (via Amazon, The Brick, and directly through Monsoon).

14 responses to Third Gen Vulkano Placeshifters Poised For Launch

  1. I’ve got a query out to their PR firm to determine if the new Canadian offering features the old or new enclosure and determine if the new hardware enables high def streaming.

  2. just curious – are they still copying my old UI?

  3. Hope this means they will finally get Canadian program guides. They’ve been promising this “soon” for the past year.

  4. Jeremy I dunno, but their setup wizard was always unique. I’d say the extra polish (seen here) and EPG UI suggest they’ve graduated.

    johnnyO, The Windows software update that hit this week includes it…

  5. New placeshifers? I thought they wer PlaceShifters? :)

  6. That’s great that they’re updating the hardware, but i find their software to be quite rough around the edges… The iOS device gives memory errors all the time, and the mac os x app is quite finnicky. I might get the new Vulkano hardware, but please, guys – work on your software!

  7. I gave up on Monsoon when they changed their iphone / Android apps so that older boxes couldn’t work anymore.

    Their software has always been terrible which is a shame since the hardware seems really good.

  8. Dave,
    does this have m-card integration?
    Also in your opinion which is the best place shifting box? (that works with a mac)

  9. No, this doesn’t directly tune television. Rather, it relays your existing stuff (cableco DVR, TiVo, other set-top) around the home or beyond to computer and mobile software clients. Also, it can optionally record from those sources to the clients or to local storage (if/when present) for later playback and/or streaming.

    The last time I looked at the Vulkano Mac software client, the setup wizard was still Windows-only and the OS X player seemed a little rough around the edges but was certainly serviceable. The Slingbox Mac software hasn’t been updated in eons and doesn’t support the HD streaming offered by the PRO-HD. So if you’re going that (HD) route, you’d want to use the fine web client. But I’d say overall that Macs are second class citizens when it comes to either company. In terms of cost and if basic 480p placeshifting is all you’re looking for, the Vulkano Flow is the cheapest – lowest MSRP and the mobile clients runs $13 to Sling’s $30.

    I travel less these days and now prefer the simplicity and efficiency of expanded web video offerings (like Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo, CNN) over rolling my own placeshifting solution. Obviously this limits my selection in some ways (such as live sports), but it’s been mostly working.

  10. This looks interesting. A friend of mine moved away and he was looking for a way to watch Eagles games in Cablevision territory. Maybe I’ll convince him to go halves on this and I’ll put it on a spare DirecTV receiver.

    Looks like it does component & composite pass through, but I only see 1 HDMI out?

    Integrated Wifi is another plus over the slingbox.

    Thanks for posting this. Looks like a contender for sure. Not quite sure what DirecTV Nomad will do, but I hear it isn’t live streaming. Guess they don’t want to compete with Dish Network and the Sling adapter integration they have.

  11. Dave: As you know, Sling Media migrated desktop support from standalone apps to web clients for the Mac and PC a year and a half ago. Our development efforts since then have been on the web clients. We support IE, and Firefox on the PC and Safari and Firefox on the Mac. We are actively working on Chrome support for both platforms.

    Macs and PCs are at parity on our Web Based SlingPlayer products. And we support HD streaming on the web from our flagship Slingbox PRO-HD placeshifter. This is important for anyone when considering a purchase if they really care about video quality.

    Jay Tannenbaum
    VP Marketing, Sling Media Inc.

  12. Thanks, Jay! I knew the Mac software had been abandoned, but I didn’t realize the Windows equivalent was also put to pasture. While I always pushed for some sort of universal web client, we give up a certain amount of control in terms of video window size/placement. Also, the stand alone software offered some other advanced configurations (related to IP and streaming) that I don’t think are available in the web experience. I like the idea of offering both, although it’s probably a development burden. Does the Safari plugin still require you to run Safari in 32 bit mode? Anxiously awaiting Chrome support… as it’s my preferred browser on OS X. Also waiting to hear more about SlingPlayer for Connected Devices – don’t make me corrupt your beta testers (further). ;)

  13. Just to confuse things more. :) The Lava and Blast models are now available from Monsoon. They are not the new form factors they are the same enclosures as the Flow and Deluxe.

  14. To kinda give a follow up on this…
    The change in pcb and container design is just that. There isn’t any new changes to the hardware internals or chips.

    Essentially the pcb needed an update and when doing so the container had to change to match it.