I've been using a Slingbox since they were first launched a few years ago and have used all of the mobile clients to watch my TV content on the road. I still have my Slingbox Classic and use it on my S60 and Windows Mobile devices from time to time. Once I saw that Monsoon Multimedia had a place shifting device that supported a Nokia Internet Tablet I knew I had to give it a try. I was sent a HAVA Platinum HD to try out and have to say I was very pleased with its performance and functionality. I especially like that there are FREE mobile clients for the Nokia Internet Tablet devices, Windows Mobile devices, and S60 devices (currently in beta). I posted product photos and mobile client screenshots in my new image gallery. Read below to find out what other functionality is a part of the HAVA that I haven't seen in my Slingbox.
|Image Gallery:Hardware and mobile clients showing the HAVA Platinum HD in action.|
The HAVA Platinum HD is the mid-level device in the HAVA lineup with the Gold being the entry level and the Wireless HD and Titanium HD WiFi being the upper level devices. The Platinum HD lets you connect your high definition video source so you can stream it to a Windows PC or supported mobile client. There is currently no Mac client available. Currently supported mobile devices include Windows Mobile (touch and non-touch screen devices), Nokia Internet Tablet, and S60. I was able to try out the HAVA Platinum HD with each of these mobile clients.
Connections: It is important to have the right connections so you can view your video content and the Platinum HD delivers with S-Video input and output jacks, HD input and output jacks, and audio input and output jacks. The device has an ethernet port to connect the HAVA to the internet. They have another model, the Wireless HD, that has an integrated 802.11g radio in case you don't have an available ethernet port to connect to the HAVA.
You can record content? Yes, with the Platinum HD you can actually record video content right on your Windows PC. This is a distinguishing feature over the Slingbox and one that can be quite useful if you have a locked DVR box like I do because now you can record some of your favorite shows and archive them for later viewing or even take the content with you when you travel for offline viewing. The recorded content is encoded in MPEG format so all you need is a compatible player to watch it. You cannot record TV content directly onto your mobile device and given the size of the video output (on the order of 20MB/minute) you probably wouldn't want to attempt this anyways.
Manage live TV: With the HAVA Platinum HD you can also control your live TV content. You have the ability to record, pause, fast forward and rewind your live TV.
Video quality: If you watch video on multiple PCs, up to 3 allowed at a time, within your local home network then you can watch TV in DVD quality. The quality is not in HD when you are connecting via the internet outside your home network due to the limitations on bandwidth, but the quality is still very good and more than acceptable for watching video content on the go. I used the Treo Pro and Windows Mobile client via 3G (AT&T network) and was pleased with the performance.
Other features: I understand that the HAVA works very well with Windows Media Center PCs, but I do not have one of these to try out and check to see what it provides. I understand that you don't need a TV Tuner to watch content, much like any other PC with the HAVA client installed, but you can still use the Media Center PC functions to watch TV content.
Setup was also extremely easy and I just connected the included component video cables from my cable box to the HAVA and then from the HAVA to my TV. I gave the HAVA a name and password and it was much easier to connect online than having to enter my Slingbox Finder ID in on every mobile client. I went through the HAVA setup wizard on my Fujitsu U810 and was setup and ready to go in minutes. The process was extremely easy and simple with the included Quick Start Guide making it even easier.
Price: The HAVA Platinum HD is available for US$149.99 from their site, but can be found online for just about US$100 too. There are also some good specials on their website right now and a survey that gives you 30% off if you fill it out and then purchase a device. The Slingbox Pro HD is US$299.99 and allows you to stream HD content on your wireless network so it is double the price of the HAVA Platinum HD. You also have to pay for each mobile client (Windows Mobile, S60, Palm, and UIQ) while HAVA Mobile Player clients are available for free.