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Mohu Channels review: An ugly marriage of over-the-air and streaming TV

Jared Newman | March 26, 2015
Over-the-air broadcasts are enjoying something of a renaissance in the cord-cutting age. If you live within range of broadcast towers, a simple antenna will deliver basic channels--including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS--in beautiful high definition for free. It's the perfect supplement to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Mohu Channels has a web browser as well, but this is less useful than you might think. Sites like NBC, for instance, don't allow streaming from mobile devices, which is funny because Mohu Channels includes a link to NBC.com towards the bottom of its program guide. Hulu is also out of the question, as is any site that relies on Adobe Flash for video playback. Using a web browser on your TV continues to be a dubious proposition, and Mohu Channels does little to change that.

Better options elsewhere

If you're dead-set on having one input for all your video needs, Mohu Channels isn't the only option. You could combine an Xbox One ($350) with a $35 TV tuner to get a full programming guide, streaming apps, and high-end gaming in a much slicker package. Or, you could get a TiVo Roamio OTA ($50), which provides DVR capabilities and streaming apps for $15 per month. Don't want another subscription fee? Tablo ($220 plus an external hard drive) can record broadcast shows and stream live channels to all kinds of devices over your local network. Mohu Channels is cheaper than these alternatives, but the downsides are significant.

For most users, the best and most cost-effective solution is to keep over-the-air and streaming sources separate. Just plug your antenna directly into the TV, and take your pick of sub-$100 media streamers — Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, or Fire TV, for example — all of which do a better job at streaming video than Mohu Channels. You won't have everything on a single input, and you'll have to juggle a couple of remotes, but the net number of headaches will be far fewer.

 

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