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No, this isn’t a review of the latest crazy musical ON Broadway, but rather the newest little device from Hauppauge. Hauppauge has been around since 1992, and their products are usually pretty innovative. I’ve used one of their TV capture devices to record custom gameplay from my PS3 before, so I had some high expectations going into this. After all, it’s not every day that an item claims to let you watch your home television from anywhere in the world so long as you have some kind of internet connection. So did the Broadway play beautiful music on my Galaxy? Or did it fall flat like Spider Man Turn Off The Dark?
As long as you have a spare cable outlet in your house, the Broadway is extremely easy to set up. Luckily, the television that was in my bedroom is now gone, so the bare coaxial cable there made a perfect place to hook it up. In order to hook it in to your network though, you first need to hook it up wired. It might sound ass backwards, but it’s not that big of a deal if your router is a good distance from where your open cable is – once you have it hooked up with an Ethernet cable, you go to the setup website and start the process.
Once you tell it your WiFi network information, the website allows you to move it into position in your house before scanning for channels – that means you can get the network information setup easily, and then worry about the channels after. Now since I only have a standard QAM cable service, I can’t comment on how it works with a setup that uses ATSC, but I imagine it’s basically the same. Click the channel scan button, and the website goes to work much like any new television does when you use their channel scan. Eventually it will pop up a number of channels detected, and you’re ready to go.
Now don’t think that it will use all the channels that it detects – the Broadway device doesn’t have any sort of built in decryption software on it, so only channels that aren’t encrypted are shown. As an example, the software detected 218 channels, but it only will display 25 for me. It’s not that big of a deal though, because all the channels I would normally watch aren’t encrypted (Cartoon Network for Adult Swim, SyFy, and CBS/FOX for NFL games all came through fine). I’m sure that most people with QAM channels are going to hope that in the future they add some decryption abilities to the Broadway though.
After everything is finished being set up, you log onto distan.tv to begin watching television from any internet enabled device. I tried it from a laptop, a desktop, an android phone, an android tablet (actually three of them running different OS), and iPhone 4, 3GS, and 3 models – every one of them ran the website fine with no hitches. The website defaults the quality to minimum, so you’ll need to change that when you log in – but it does save for each device. Now this was all on WiFi at first, but Hauppauge claims that you can watch TV even on a cellular signal, so I had to check it out.
The only real issue I had was getting ports opened in my router – the experimental one I had received from NetGear was having a number of issues with opening up anything, so I just popped in the old one I had and everything went smooth. Again, the website defaults to the minimum quality setting, but I found I could generally bump it to the mid setting (two stars) on both AT&T and Verizon’s 3G networks. When I was in a 4G zone I could push four stars with some stuttering, but three ran smoothly, and really three stars looked extremely good on a tablet.
The streaming quality isn’t a problem with the Broadway itself though, and if you happen to be in an area that you can tap into a WiFi signal, you can crank the quality to the max for what amounts to HD quality viewing. Just be aware that if you’re using this on a cellular connection, it will eat up data like no one’s business. The minimum setting when not on WiFi is 150kb per second, all the way to 2200kb per second at max (the max is doubled when on a WiFi connection).
The Bottom Line: The Broadway is a great little device that does exactly as it says it will, however the lack of decryption software means you’ll lost some channels on a QAS service – also, it will kill your cellular data plan unless you have unlimited usage.
You can get a Broadway unit from Amazon for $176.99