A good word for my "vulkano" alternative to slingbox.

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by ejjames, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. ejjames

    ejjames Icon

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    Oct 2, 2006
    Although I mainly use this to view directv while traveling, it does other functions on which I haven;t scratched the surface. Here;s how well it workes for me.

    I live in Minneapolis, but am spending a month or so with my parents in ND to help clean up after the flood here.

    My vulkanno (yes, that's how it's spelled) is connected via component to my HR20-700. the connection to my home router is via WI-fI, and only wireless G! (I do have a fairly good home upload speed of about 2Mbps.)

    In ND, i have my desktop fitted with a wireless adapter, as the router is across the house. This too is wireless g, and only DSL with a 4 Mbps download. ,The result is a virtually studder-free 720x480 picture. i know they are using codecs such as h.264, but it runs circles around my slingbox solo.

    The best part, it was $99.
     
  2. Michael H..

    Michael H.. Member

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    May 31, 2007
    I give the Vulkano (V) merely a passing grade.
    The upload speed is the single most critical variable to performance.
    And 2 MB/sec will provide 480 (DVD) horizontal streaming.
    If you CONSISTENTLY have 2 MB, then I would recommend the V.
    If you're like me, and don't, then consider the following:

    The service I have advertises (max, not typical) 1MB/sec upload, and typically ranges about half of that, and will definitely not support anything other than the [1/4] default resolution, which is fine for a handheld display, but not a panel (looks like pre-2009 analog input SD on a HDTV).

    Up until a few months ago, the firmware would not fully support PC port-forwarding, for enabling DVR scheduling/recording/playback, only channel changing/real-time shifting (via IR eye).
    That has been fixed (took Monsoon 9 months), all of the "recording" remote buttons are now operational, but the response/delay is still 1-2 sec for button activation for channel changing, etc.
    Use the Electronic Program Guide (EPG) feature and go directly to what you want to watch/enter that channel, but you do not want to try to channel surf.

    Since the V is a PVR, the Vulkano buffers similar to a DVR, but delayed (non-streaming) does not enhance video quality (same as what was streaming), though does enable pause/repeat.

    With Netflix, HBOGO, MAXGO, (all superior video quality) I tend to opt for those over the V, and only watch the Vulkano when it is the only source for a particular program.

    And the only real show-stopper, is that the V itself occasionally requires a reboot (hard reboot, not the menu-select reboot, and yes, it is on a UPS), and there is no-one at home who can do that, then I have to wait until I return home to get it operational again, in the meantime getting only a "Vulkano is not responding" message. I get this after a few weeks of use. If you do not travel for extended periods, this may not be an issue, but ALL of my work/travel is, so this is a major complaint for me.

    I have dual simultaneous-band networking, i.e., two separate N/G simultaneous dual-band routers, each with giga-repeater/bridges (the DVR's are ethered in for VOD, the V is wireless), so in-home V shifting/performance is outstanding. (and likely would be even on a G-Band mixed-use). Mention this because this is the operating condition displayed at your local Fry's, and results other than home networking GREATLY vary.
     
  3. jadebox

    jadebox Godfather

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    I picked up a Vulkano on sale. I don't remember how much I paid, but it wasn't very expensive - especially when compared to Sling's products.

    I have it set up with one of my Dish receivers and, so far, I'm very pleased with it. I occassionally use it to stream video to my Android phone. Sometimes, HD channels stutter a little, but, generally the picture and sound are okay. I also use it to record video for playback through my media server or on my phone. The software is a little confusing, but works okay.

    I don't recall ever having to reboot it. I did have a problem, at first, getting an external drive to work with it. It turns out that only one of the USB ports works with an external drive. It took me a while to figure out that I had plugged the drive into the wrong port.

    -- Roger
     
  4. xmguy

    xmguy Active Member

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    Middle, TN
    I have the Hava Platinum HD(predecessor to the Vulkano). I picked one up referb. It's not the best at video quality. I may try to get a Slingbox down the line. But for the time being it does well.
     
  5. ciurca

    ciurca Godfather

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    Well my sing hd is almost flawless with my 30/5 comcast modem. Well worth the 299
     
  6. Rob Dawn

    Rob Dawn AllStar

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    Jan 11, 2006
    Colorado
    I'm a bit confused on the Vulkano's ability to stream recorded content. I get that it will NOT stream content recorded on itself, but will it stream recorded content from a connected DirecTV DVR?
    Something I read in a different review suggested that it might, but I would love to hear from an owner that it really will do this as this would be my only use for the unit.

    Thanks,
    Rob
     
  7. ejjames

    ejjames Icon

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    Oct 2, 2006
    They do have a model, and an option that adds a hard drive, although I use it to stream my HR20.

    When you start the pc client it gives you options to watch recordings (which I take to mean a hard drive connected to the vulkano) and "watch tv" which is what I select to vies my directv.
    (i have not directly connected a hard drive, so I have no concrete answers.)
     
  8. merlin50

    merlin50 Cool Member

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    We have both SD slingbox and Vulkano (flow). I would rate the Slingbox higher for picture quality and remote programming. Slingbox is easier to setup as well. Still the vulkano works and has built in wireless if that is an issue. I ended up connecting both to a router so it did not matter. Vulkano connects to the directv DVR so we can watch anything recorded on that box via the directv menu.
     
  9. jadebox

    jadebox Godfather

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    Dec 13, 2004
    You can watch anything on your DVR - live or recorded.

    I have the Vulkano Monsoon. The smartphone app makes it easy to download recordings from the Vulkano to the phone, but I don't think it plays tem directly from the Vulkano.

    -- Roger
     
  10. bwaldron

    bwaldron Impossible Dreamer

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    Oct 24, 2005
    I have some SD Slingboxes and a Monsoon here, and basically agree (though I'd actually give the PQ edge to the Vulkano).

    I'd also say that the Slingbox software/apps are more mature; Vulkano's are a bit rough around the edges (but the ability to save to a local .mp4 file via the PC player is nice).
     
  11. ejjames

    ejjames Icon

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    Oct 2, 2006
    I have been with my parents this summer, in Minot, ND. My directv DVR is in Minneapolis with my Vulkano. Here is a breakdown of how well it performs.

    At home, the vulkano is connected via wireless G to a 20/2 comcast connection. Here in Minot, my pc is also wireless G to a 5Mbps DSL.

    So 2 wireless jumps, and i stream video @ 720x480 usually using between 1.2 and 1.7 Mbps. I think it uses H.264, and I know the high comcast upload speed plays a large role, but 2 wireless G jumps? COME ON!
     
  12. cypherx

    cypherx Hall Of Fame

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    PA - Berks...
    After reading that DirecTV nomad does not offer live streaming, and it costs $150... I am glad to read your review of the $99 Vulkano box.

    I had my eye on it because it's less costly than a SlingBox. It's also less costly (and does more) than the DirecTV Nomad. Thanks for taking the time to write about it in the post.
     
  13. ejjames

    ejjames Icon

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    Oct 2, 2006
    I also wanted to mention that the vulkano streams at a full 30 frames a second. I don't want to give the wrong impression, I'm not talking DVD quality, but I've had a slingbox solo in a similar setup 2 years ago, and it was hit or miss even with a wired connection at the source.

    BTW, I'm using the component connection. I also have S-Video connected, but the only real visible difference is the higher 7.5 IRE black level on s-video. My monitor is calibrated to 0, so component wins.

    Here's a screen grab. It can be run full screen, but I had it in a window to show the interface.
     

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  14. ssandhoops

    ssandhoops AllStar

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    Dec 2, 2007
    So, if you have a Vulkano that has DVR capability, you could play a recording from your DirecTV DVR and record it on the Vulkano, right? Consequently, does this then give you a method to convert recordings on your D DVR to mp4?
     
  15. bwaldron

    bwaldron Impossible Dreamer

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    With any of the Vulkano models, the PC software can save the stream you're playing to an mp4 format. The higher-end Vulkano models have their own storage you can store to -- but I have no experience with them.
     
  16. ejjames

    ejjames Icon

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    Oct 2, 2006
    I believe all vulkano models are the same. The "higher end" ones just include the external hard drive. (I may be wrong.)
     
  17. ejjames

    ejjames Icon

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    Oct 2, 2006
    Just a couple more screen grabs. Vulkano's version of a guide, I guess if it's just connected to something like a cable box and you want to record it to the computer's drive. As you can see, I don't use this and have never edited the channels.

    The second is just a settings menu.;
     

    Attached Files:

  18. cypherx

    cypherx Hall Of Fame

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    PA - Berks...
    Well if you have problems where you have to hard power cycle it, you could always get an IP controlled power outlet strip like this 4 port one on amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/IP-Power-4-Outlet-Network-Controller/dp/B001E03KRU

    Then you could log into your home PC or home network via VPN or SSH Tunnel, and go into the web gui of the power outlet controller and initiate a quick power off/power on for the outlet the Vulkano is hooked up to.
     
  19. rsadam

    rsadam New Member

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    Oct 3, 2011
    It took me a long while to find you guys! I have been slinging with a Solo for over 5 yrs now from Seattle to my remote location in Germany and have had such inconsistency with my kbps rates/res settings the entire time. It is a most frustrating unit. Most of the time around 400 to 600, and surprisingly a recent period of 4 months or so, I was streaming at 1500 to 1700 kbps at a res of 640x480. That was AMAZING performance! One day recently after watching an NFL game, I took a 2hr break, disconnected, and then reconnected to only get kbps of 200 to 400! Terrible PQ! I'm now on week 4 of this bad performance! I have been doing a ton of reading in forums and checking everything from pings to trace routes and much more. I tried using VPN server service, tried connecting using proxy also (to circumvent slingbox.com server), no luck. My next test is to see what a friend in the Seattle can get streaming remotely. Not a great comparison for process of elimination, but a step nonetheless. That won't make as many hops as my streaming to Germany. I also want to test another ISP here in Germany using my laptop and hardwire using slingplayer for a test of "Throttling" or "Trafficking" that could be happening on Germany's end. After seeing info regarding H.264 streaming, I check what my settings is and what my Solo is streaming. WMV! NOT H.264 I tried to enter the settings and make a change, but it wouldn't save. So, enough of my situation. I would like to know some info about the Vulkano unit, like the Flow! Or any info regarding the performance and reliability of the Vulkano products. Does it stream consistently well, even sports video or fast moving video. What is the real PQ? My Solo at 1500kbps was like std res! I was spoiled there for a while, now I'm back to bad PQ and I'm tired of trying to find a solution for my Slingbox Solo and have just started to check out Vulkano. I don't see much of any negative forum talk about it (unlike Sling Media products, which have a massive amount of negative). I would appreciate some one who has a good solid base experience with Vulkano to tell me as much info as they can about the pluses and minuses. Thx a ton guys! Looking forward to hearing from one of you soon. rsadam. P.S. I'm sick of my slingbox issues! :mad:
     
  20. rsadam

    rsadam New Member

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    Oct 3, 2011
    Hello again guys... I had my friend in Seattle connect remotely and he has the same kbps speeds are I do here in Germany. So that tells me nothing on my side of the pond is slowing it down! I think my streaming slowness lies either with the Sling server (cuz it's the same speed too from slngbox.com web player) or from the ISP of my Solo location (Comcast). Yeah, I have read all over the place of how they allegedly slow or cap customers. But I have been told by my nephew who is a Microsofty and checked the home network and reported it streaming lots of data. So, I dunno, must be Slingbox.com because I connect thru their server all the time. I also tried HMA server and at first EVERY THING was running slowly! Then later I got the same results. So I don't know how others say it has increased their speeds. I'm still looking for a solution. r
     

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