Sling Media dominates the nascent place-shifting market with the Slingbox, and rightfully so IMHO. However, they do have competition, mainly Sony’s Location Free Television and Snappy Multimedia’s Hava products. The Hava products are also now sold under the Monsoon brand. Monsoon issued a press release today announcing the availability of two Hava models – see below.
The Hava boxes differ from the Slingbox in a few key ways. They use MPEG-2 locally, and MPEG-4 for remote streaming, while the SB uses WMV9/VC-1 for all streaming. The local MPEG-2 encoding on the Hava is DVD compatible, so it is possible to record the stream and burn it to DVD. Which is another point – Hava enables recording the stream on a local receiving PC, Sling does not. Hava has also been integrated into Windows XP Media Center Edition and Windows Vista so that you can use the Hava box as a remote tuner for Windows. Hava also supports multiple simultaneous stream clients, while Slingbox is limited to one.
But Hava is limited to Windows – both Windows PCs and Windows Mobile devices. There is no support for Mac OS, Palm OS, or Symbian – and no Win2k, which SB supports. Just XP and Vista. The Hava software isn’t a polished as Sling’s offering, Sling has done a lot of work on the SlingStream format to optimize the streaming experience. And Sling supports a wider variety of set top boxes.
There are a few applications where the Hava is probably the better, or only, choice – such as as a remote tuner for a MCE PC – but a Slingbox provides a better experience for most users, which is why Sling dominates the market.
The press release:
Jul 2, 2007 12:01 ET
Monsoon Multimedia Announces Retail Availability of HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD
Monsoon’s Full Featured Video Streaming, Time- and Place-Shifting Devices to Appear in Select Retailers Nationwide
SAN MATEO, Calif., July 2 /PRNewswire/ — Monsoon Multimedia, an innovative digital video solutions provider, today announced retail availability for HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD — two full-featured video streaming and place-shifting devices that allow customers to view and control their live TV on PCs connected to the home network or from anywhere in the world using a broadband-connected PC or mobile phone. Monsoon’s HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD give customers flexibility in how, when and where they view their home television at a highly competitive, low price point.
The Monsoon HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD utilize Monsoon’s vBooster technology providing robust picture quality and enabling multicast video transmission that allows multiple PCs within a home to receive video content at the same time. In addition, the HAVA Platinum HD offers seamless integration with Microsoft Media Center PCs, including full personal video recorder (PVR) functionality, time-shifting, and HD video support. The HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD are available immediately for purchase at Fry’s Electronics stores, TigerDirect.com and other select retailers nationwide.
“We are very excited to offer our innovative line of HAVA devices through retail and e-tail channels at a price point that leads the pack,” said Colin Stiles, EVP, Sales & Marketing at Monsoon. “Consumers can now conveniently purchase a HAVA online or from a nearby store and enjoy their home television from multiple PCs within the home and on an Internet-connected PC or mobile phone from anywhere in the world.”
The HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD enable high-quality MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 streaming and recording of video content from any video source, including live TV from set top boxes, DVD players and TiVo, to multiple PCs in a home or business. Users can also connect to the HAVA using an Internet-connected PC or mobile phone and begin enjoying their home TV with familiar remote control functionality from any location globally.
The HAVA Platinum HD also enables the PC to operate as a PVR allowing users to pause, fast forward, rewind and record live TV content to hard disk or burn onto DVD. Windows Vista and Windows XP Media Center Edition users can utilize HAVA as a virtual networked TV tuner, extending the Media Center TV experience to any room in the house. Xbox 360 users can also use HAVA to stream live TV from their Media Center PC to an Xbox connected TV to watch favorite programs.
Monsoon HAVA Gold and Platinum HD Features:
— Supports Windows Vista
— Multicast to multiple PCs simultaneously
— Connects to any TV source including Cable, Satellite, DVD, TiVo and
— All inputs include a pass through connector, eliminating the use of
splitters when connecting HAVA to home video equipment
— Streams video at an average of 6 Mbps directly to PCs in home network
in MPEG-2 full D1, full screen at 720 x 480 pixels
— Streams MPEG-2 format over the home network, MPEG-4 format over the
— Component Input and support for native 16:9 display ratio –
“HD capable” (HAVA Platinum HD only)
— Windows XP Media Center Edition integration — appears as an installed
TV-tuner card (HAVA Platinum HD only)
— Enables TiVo-like functionality on the PC. Users can record, store,
pause, rewind and fast forward stored video (HAVA Platinum HD Only)
— Schedule and record programs for later viewing (HAVA Platinum HD only)
— Allows burning of stored material to DVD (HAVA Platinum HD only)
Pricing and Availability
The Monsoon Multimedia HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD are available through Fry’s Electronics, TigerDirect.com and other select retailers nationwide at a suggested retail price of $129.99 for the HAVA Gold and $159.99 for the HAVA Platinum HD. HAVA Gold and HAVA Platinum HD are also available directly through the ecommerce site www.myhava.com.
About Monsoon Multimedia
Monsoon Multimedia provides advanced, standards based multimedia products and technologies for the PC and Consumer Electronics industries. Monsoon licenses highly optimized multimedia solutions comprising applications, drivers, frameworks, middleware and reference designs. Our customers and partners are semiconductor companies, PC manufacturers, software suppliers and consumer electronics companies. Founded by the founders of Dazzle and Emuzed, the company is headquartered in Noida, India with offices in California and Russia. For more information, please visit www.monsoonmultimedia.com.
Source: Monsoon Multimedia
CONTACT: Anders Steele of FortyThree, Inc., +1-831-239-0960, or
Web site: http://www.monsoonmultimedia.com/