Mohu’s Channels manages to marry OTA and OTT, but it needs a little more TLC

mohu channels hands on
This time last year, we watched Mohu’s Kickstarter project, called ‘Channels,’ achieve its funding goal in record time. The compelling device promised to marry over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and web pages together into one familiar, channels-based interface.

Mohu has since fulfilled its backers’ orders, and today, Channels becomes available for purchase by the general public — you can order the device on its own for $150, or bundled with one of Mohu’s various (excellent) antennas at Mohu’s website. But before you do, you might to hear what we have to say after evaluating Channels for the past few days:

As explained in our video, we think Channels stems from a great idea, but lacks in its execution. Our primary concern is with its ease of use, or lack thereof — if this device is intended to make life easier, then we feel it fails in that regard.

The Channels’ remote control is the subject of our biggest gripe. You don’t hold it or operate it like any remote you’ve ever used, and its motion-based control style requires users to use both hands and exercise a great deal of patience, as aiming an on-screen cursor can be trying.

We also dislike the pace of use. Loading screens cause frequent interruptions, and apps feel sluggish compared to the same app running on an Android TV or Amazon Fire TV device (both of which feature superior hardware to Channels).

When all was said and done, we found ourselves eager to return to using our Roku and Amazon Fire TV, even if we would occasionally have to press the input button on our TV remote to bounce back and forth between broadcast TV and our set-top box. We commend Mohu on making a valiant effort, but at this point, we can’t help but feel Channels causes more problems than it solves.

That could change, though. As Channels is Mohu’s first go at an electronics device, it is understandable that it is less than perfect.

With Channels’ success on Kickstarter, Mohu proved that a market for such a device exists. Now, all Mohu has to do is what it has always done best: work tirelessly to perfect its product.

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