For a Video Review of the Mohu Channels click here. The sales of antennas and set-top boxes have been growing as cord cutting becomes more popular. People are finding that a lot of their favorite programming is available via the main national networks that most people call “local channels”. Along with antennas cord cutters often purchase set-top boxes like the Roku family of products in order to take advantage of web based video services like Netflix and Hulu. The Mohu
Channels is a device that can be attached to a coaxial antenna to provide access to an OTA TV program guide that includes channels from an antenna and provide a platform from which to access Android video apps and even linked web pages. We had a chance to take a look at the Mohu channels recently. Here is the rundown.
The remote for the Mohu channels is very well designed to handle all of the actions that the device has to perform. It has a full QWERTY keyboard with the ability to insert symbols @,& etc.
It is lighted which is incredibly convenient for use with the lights off, features directional buttons and of course numbers. The use of the remote completely eliminates the need for the on screen keyboard typically found on set-top boxes and dongles that utilize an Android tablet based interface. The remote runs on 4 AAA batteries and pairs easily with the device without the use of an external dongle. It also has basic buttons that assist in navigation like a guide button to return to the home screen, back and page up and down. The most important feature on the remote by far though is that it is also an Airmouse. An Airmouse is a wireless controller for computers and TV connected devices that allows one to interact with a TV connected device using a cursor in the same way one would with a traditional computer mouse to navigate Windows or Mac OS. A very common example of this sort of thing was the wand remote for the Nintendo Wii. The remote performed all of its tasks quite well from browsing the Internet, Navigating apps and of course the basic interface itself. I found it responsive and appreciated the option that allows one to turn the actual cursor on and off. Overall it is one of my favorite included remotes that I have used with a set top box.
Apps for the Mohu Channels come from the Google Play Store. This means that there are thousands of potential apps. Of course the important apps to a Channels owner are going to be the video apps. With that said the Channels can be loaded with all of the most popular Android
based video apps like Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and anything else on the Google Play store for that matter. Because the device also has a Google browser users can choose to download android apps from other sources too by simply going to the website and getting them. Where the device struggles on this front is that because the channels is based on a tablet-centric system the apps available for the device are meant to be controlled as though the user were touching them. That is where the air mouse is needed. If an app has a touch based interface users can use the cursor and select button on the remote to glide through the apps and select their programming. The Google Play store has tons of great video apps and movies so users are limited only by their imagination when it comes to content.
The Interface for the Mohu Channels is similar to what you would find using a digital cable guide. The home screen is based on a grid featuring the users installed TV channels, apps and web pages. Other features like settings are accessed at the top of the screen and feature brightly colored tiles almost reminiscent of Windows 8.1. Users navigate through a listing of their TV channels along with program information using directional buttons in a pretty straight forward
manner. Users can choose to delete channels and apps or move their placement depending on how they choose to use them. This means if you happen to want to access Netflix and ABC most often the can be at the top of the guide for easy access.
The device is a bit underpowered compared to a number of the other options in its class. It features single band Wi-Fi which gets the job done while in apps but can get bogged down when apps are downloading from the play store or from websites. I found that I would sometimes have to switch to its ethernet supported option in order to complete such tasks. For users who are not able to plug their device into a router via a network cable this might be troublesome. I would not have a lot of trouble believing that the internet issues were related to the uneven performance of my ISP,
Time Warner Cable. In general it was powerful enough to zip in and out of the interface with no noticeable lag time nor was there any trouble booting, rebooting and loading firmware. As a partner to an antenna it performs admirably by setting up an accurate program guide for all of the compatible channels. How well a channel is displayed is of course up to the strength of the signal compared to the type of antenna one is using. The device though does provide info as to what level of signal each channel is providing to the unit.
Third Party App Support
It appears that the Mohu channels can support Android apps not included in the Google Play Store. And with the option of adding apps via the browser it is not difficult to find them. Like other Android devices the Channels can support Kodi. This is a good app to have in place because the addons for Kodi are based on a TV interface. For a number of reasons I prefer using YouTube on Kodi to navigating a tablet based app. By adding Kodi users have a simple way to add new functionality to the Channels as well as access video stored on networked hard drives.
Setting up the Channels is simple. The device has a setup wizard of sorts that walks the user through the process of choosing a time zone, scanning for TV channels as well as a walk through to help users pair a compatible remote to the device if they would rather use something besides the included remote. There is also a slide show of sorts that details how the remote works, button mapping and an explanation of the Interface. Before the setup is complete users will have loaded TV channels, chosen their internet connection and time settings. It takes about ten minutes max depending on how many TV channels your antenna can pull in.
The Leaf is compatible with any Antenna that has a coaxial connector. Mohu offers packages
featuring their own antennas including their lower end Mohu Leaf 30 and the high end Mohu Sky 60. Users should base the antenna they connect to their TV’s based on the distance from the broadcast towers they wish to reach. We suggest using the website http://www.antennaweb.org/#. There users can take a look at the channels available in their area
and see what they should be capable of receiving. Mohu also has a helpful tool on their website that will let users type in their zipcode to find out what kind of channel lineup to expect from their own products complete with channel listings. At its hear Mohu is still an antenna company and will likely be releasing more powerful and stylized models.
Device Size and Weight
- Shape: Elliptical
- Height: 1.4 inches
- Width: 2.6 inches
- Depth: 4.8 inches
- Weight: 3.52 ounces (100 grams)
- ARM DUAL-CORE CORTEX-A9 (1.5 GHz)
- Customized design
- Integrated RF and IR (enables sync with TV remote) capability
- Motion control QWERTY keyboard
- Back lit buttons
Ports and Interfaces
- RF jack
- 10/100 BASE – T Ethernet
- USB Type A receptacle
- Power supply input (5 volt)
- Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
- 5 volt @ 2.5 amps
- 6 watts
- HDTV antenna (included)
- Coaxial RF cable (included)
- HDMI cable (included)
- Power supply (included)
- High-definition TV with HDMI and capable of 1080P @ 60Hz (not included)
- OTT/application subscriptions required for streaming paid content
- Optional Local-Area Network (LAN) with Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) wireless or 10/100BASE-T Ethernet network.
- Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
- Storage temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
- Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
- ATSC MPEG-2
- Multiple language and multiple format sub-title video support
- Supports multiple video formats for playback
- MediaCPU with DSP audio processing
- Supports MP3, AAC, WMA, RM, FLAC, Ogg
- Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI and capable of 1080p including popular brands including: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, and Westinghouse.
- HDMI cable
- Power supply
- Remote control