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Belkin @TV Premium - Mobile Television Anywhere

1 rating: 4.0
A product

Watch live television, movies, sports, and more on a smartphone or tablet wherever you are using Belkin @TV premium. This set-top box allows you to see live and recorded TV on a single mobile device when you're away from home. When you're home, you can … see full wiki

1 review about Belkin @TV Premium - Mobile Television Anywhere

Solid TV Streaming Device

  • Aug 30, 2013
  • by
Rating:
+4
I've used the Slingbox for a few years, and I had really liked that device. With the advent of VCRs and especially DVRs we were freed from the temporal constraints when it comes to watching the TV. Slingbox ushered in the era of location-shifting of your TV habits, and I am glad to see that there are now other options available for this. Unfortunately we are still probably some years away from the fully functional web based TV, so in the meanwhile devices such as the Slingbox and now Belkin's @TV are necessary for a simulacrum of such an experience.

The setup was a bit tricky, but after following the instructions closely I was able to get everything to work.

I was disappointed that the smartphone app wasn't free (it was $12 as o this writing), but at least it was cheaper than the Slingbox app and the tablet app was free! The app worked reasonably well, especially when used on the local network. I was also able to use it on several devices simultaneously, something that Slingbox doesn't allow you. I didn't mind that I couldn't stream the video to my web browser on a PC or the Mac, but had to download a separate (large) program for this purpose. To begin with I don't enjoy watching TV on my computer, and I remember using a desktop program with the Slingbox when I first got it. I preferred that to the browser-based watching - it was not finicky about which browser I used and which version of Silverlight I had installed.

The ability to record the TV content directly onto your mobile device is definitely one of the best features of this streamer, and a definite plus over Slingbox. However, I do wish it would be able to download pre-recorded content somehow. I still use a few years old TiVo, and it would be nice to transfer some of my TiVo content easily to my iPhone and iPad. I think that the latest generation of TiVo combines the two functions, but I think those TiVos are substantially more expensive than this Belkin's box.

When it comes to picture quality, it was definitely on par with what I've experienced with Slingbox for instance. The playback is very smooth and high-quality as long as you are watching at home, but the quality will vary, sometimes, dramatically, when you try watching over the net. Most of the time it was pretty good to excellent, but there have been times when it let a lot to be desired. This is not surprising - the quality of streaming will depend on the connection speed at home AND wherever you happen to be, and many times if either one of these connections is below the streaming optimum the quality will invariably suffer.

Another one of the disappointments with this device is that it doesn't use the HDMI cable for connection. I could understand this a few years ago when HDMI was still relatively new, and the component cables were at the cusp of their popularity, but today most new TVs don't even have a proper component input. (My LG Google TV uses several adopters for this task.)

Finally, I wish that the marketing people at Belkin came up with a smarter/catchier name for this device. @TV seems like a seriously half-hearted effort at brainstorming possible product names.

Overall the quality of @TV, both the device and the service, is very good. This is definitely a very solid and comparable competitor to Slingbox, at a noticeably lower price. If you are looking for a device that will stream your TV programming remotely, this is definitely a very solid choice.

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