From the pioneering work of placeshifting specialist Sling Media and streaming video providers Netflix and Hulu to the unbundling of premium channels, the emergence of over-the-top services like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV as well as the many devices that deliver those experiences, the impact that modern technology has had on traditional cable and broadcasting over the last decade can be felt industry-wide.
It goes without saying, then, that cutting the cord has never been as convenient as it is today. It's not perfect, however, as one issue that is still known to cause grief has to do with pulling in those free airwaves from local broadcasters.
You'll of course need an antenna to do so but that's not necessarily the hard part. Instead, finding the optimal spot for your indoor antenna that's both free from obstructions (thus resulting in optimal signal quality) and within a reasonable range of your television can easily turn people off to the idea. After all, who wants coaxial cable draped across the room to the antenna by the window?
It's an issue that Mohu, makers of the popular Leaf over-the-air (OTA) antenna, is addressing head-on at CES.
The new Mohu AirWave is a wireless antenna that you can set up anywhere in your house like near that window where you get the best reception. The device then wirelessly streams the OTA signal to the Mohu TV app on a compatible media streaming device (think Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices as well as Android and iOS devices and on the web) using Wi-Fi.
Mohu says it combines live, local channels with streaming video in a cable-like program guide, complete with program descriptions and the ability to select favorite channels. You can even look ahead to view the next 14 days of upcoming programming and utilize ClearPix, a proprietary pixilation reduction technology that Mohu says automatically adjusts to improve image reception of OTA broadcasts. There are no subscriptions or fees to worry with, we're told.
The idea of bringing OTA content into the OTT work is very similar to what Dish's upcoming AirTV Player does although with that device, you have to supply your own wired antenna.
I've reached out to Mohu regarding a few questions I came up with; specifically, is there a DVR component planned? Can you stream content away from the home or are you limited to your local Wi-Fi network (I suspect the latter scenario is the case)? What sort of lag will the system introduce versus watching live with a regular antenna? I'll update this article accordingly when I hear back.
Free, OTA local channels are a key component of a well-rounded cord cutting plan and shouldn't be discredited. You may run into some hassle and one-time expenses up front but it is well worth the effort to gain access to local channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS.
The Mohu AirWave wireless antenna goes on sale this spring exclusively at Best Buy priced at $149.99.