New from Hauppage, the Broadway. This device advertises itself as means to watch TV on your computer, smart phone or tablet device. We received a unit to review and would like to share our impressions.
Initially, the idea seemed sound. Connect this device to your home network and provide a video source and then watch your cable, sattelite or antenna based TV on just about any wi-fi enabled device.
Out of the box I have to say, the documentation is pretty minimal. Even as a geek I had to struggle with getting the Broadway up and running and the documentation was of little help with some of the more complex challenges such as enabling port forwarding on the router. And there is little to no troubleshooting advice to be found. Even the FAQ link on the website takes you to a page that says “Coming Soon” with no additional information,
I followed the instructions regarding configuring the device to connect to my wi-fi and that went pretty smoothly. I then followed the instructions to connect the device to my cable TV which proved more challenging. The device includes infrared cabled to be placed in front of the IR receiver on the set top box, but I couldn’t quite get that to work and ended up connecting the device to an available co-ax outlet in the spare bedroom.
Once that was done I was able to scan for available channels and the device seemed to detect several hundred, which was encouraging.
Now the interesting part. In order to use your iPad or other device to watch TV you simply browse to http://distan.tv to connect. No application install, no plugins or anything. The device registers with the Hauppage site and then you make the association with the portable device you will be using. Once that is done you can reach your home television signal from anywhere you have wi-fi connectivity because the Broadway transmits your external IP address to a site that associates it with a PIN you create when you first set the device up. I would imagine this gets updated when your IP address ultimately gets renewed by your Internet provider.
Of course it didn’t work right until I enabled port forwarding, and even then I had to make some tweaks to my iPad settings to get it to finally connect. But once I did, I had a list of TV channels available and was able to watch live TV right on my iPad.
I even tried this from a nearby coffee shop and it worked rather well.
On the downside, you can’t watch shows you’ve recorded on your DVR and there is no HD video. But there’s also no additional software to buy and it appears this will work on any platform, including iOS, MacOS, Windows, Android and even Palm/HP WebOS devices.
Overall, not a bad device once you get past the initial setup. I have certainly enjoyed using it to watch local broadcast on the iPad which is not something I could do in the past.