Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CHI, CLD, PAR, PHX, PDX, NKC, AUK, MEL, SYD, BUE, SCL
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I've used an HDHomeRun for about a week. I don't feel I can make definitive statements about too many things. Here's some early observations and take them as non-definitive. I'm using a Dell Inspiron E1505 with integrated graphics and 802.11G. Screen is 1680x1050. I'm using their Win32 client, VLC, VIsta RC2. Router is a Paradyne 6218-A1-200 which combines ADSL modem + WiFi + 4 port switch. It seems to have a strong signal everywhere in the house.
I bought this device because I hoped it would help to deliver HDTV wireless anywhere in the house. I've been using a Fusion Gold USB HDTV tuner but hoped the HDHomeRun would eliminate the need for an attached device.
Their product is clearly a work in progress. If you have a need for this product and don't expect a robust offering, you might just have a satisfactory experience. SlingBox software quaility it most definitely is not. I'd say it's more like the early days of HDTV tuner cards. Even now, I find HDTV tuner cards to be quirky.
1. When it works reliably, it works really well. I'm very pleased at those moments. At the best moments, I get a beautiful HDTV display on my notebook computer. CPU utilization on my Core Duo 2 1.6GHz is around 30% (one CPU).
2. Sometimes I get lots of pixelization. This is clearly due to a marginal WiFi signal. Simply tilting the notebook's LCD screen one inch can make the difference between a solid video image and a mess of dropouts. I'm really suprised my notebook's wireless is so sensitive. Weirdly, distance doesn't seem to be much of a problem. I can go to the far corners of the house and watch a beautiful solid HDTV image on my bed. At other momements, I have to find the wireless sweet spot and not budge at all lest the display pixelize. I think I'm finding that once the display pixelizes, the wireless gets into a bad image mood that requires notebook repositioning and restarting to get out of.
3. During fast pans, the pixels display in waves. While I really don't think the source material is the problem, I can't imagine what would be causing panning waves. CPU utilization is only 30%. I wonder if this is some kind of MPEG decoding issue.
4. There seems to be many ways of hanging VLC. I frequently have to close VLC and restart it. This is particularly true with QAM. Some QAM channels are guaranteed killers. This is also true with the Fusion USB device and their latest software.
5. I'd be generous to say their software client is minimalistic. With availability of MythTV, SageTV and WMC, their client may become irrelevant. It is possible that one of these media center softwares will provide a shortcut to a reliable, fully featured experience.
6. Seems like QAM tuner sensitivity is not so good. This could be entirely because my QAM signal isn't adequate.
7. The screen display is so sensitive to wireless vageries that I plan to use it to test wireless connections. It's better than pinging a router.
8. Using Win32 client and VLC requires channel tuning in the client and subchannel selection in VLC->Navigation. This setup lacks integration.
9. Using Win32 client and VLC, the device continues to pump out packets after I shut the software down. This causes my wireless connection to be choked with unused packets. I'm working with tech support on this issue.
Edit: 15 Nov 2006 - Added 8 and 9.
Former Top 1000 Amazon reviewer bemoaning the loss of objective user reviews. Amazon, stop your complacency!