Belkin Takes on SlingBox with @TV
Belkin has just announced three new products. Firstly, their 5G 802.11AC next generation wireless router boasts gigabit speeds and intelligent QoS. Secondly, they’ve introduced @TV, a SlingBox competitor that can stream your home television to any device, anywhere, and at a lower cost. Lastly, Belkin is getting into the home automation market with their WeMo switch and sensor, which can add easy-to-use advanced home automation to any home at an affordable price.
Belkin Wi-Fi Dual-Band AC+ Gigabit Router
Belkin has two 5G 802.11AC routers getting ready for release. The AC1000 and AC1200 DB routers are up to twice as fast as current 802.11n routers and deliver simultaneous dual-band speeds up to 996Mbps. 802.11AC routers aren’t new to us (Buffalo 5G AC router review), however the Belkin’s killer feature is their IntelliStream QoS, or “Quality of Service”, which is responsible for intelligent management of network traffic. Belkin’s AC Routers have superior QoS that automatically prioritizes video and gaming and reduces loading time on frequently visited sites. We just saw Belkin QoS dominate in person; two computers, both torrenting a bunch of files (legally, we assume), attempted to stream a video. Both computers were hooked up to next-gen 802.11AC routers; the Belkin lowered the bandwidth priority of torrenting and focused on streaming the video. The other computer/router maintained bit torrent priority and the streaming video struggled to start and play. Both Belkin AC routers will be available in the end of June.
Belkin’s new @TV product, announced today, will stream your home television content to any smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The product, which is similar to SlingBox, hooks up to your cable box (or satellite, or DVD player, etc) at home and can stream anywhere in the world, over WiFi or 3G/4G. @TV can even stream your HD video content. @TV has various features that competitors don’t offer, like built-in WiFi and recording straight to your mobile device for offline viewing, but the real competitive advantage is their price-point. The Belkin @TV costs $149.99, with zero monthly fees, and the tablet app is free (the mobile app is not). It will be available in mid-July.
WeMo is a personal favorite of the night. Having worked for a company that does home automation, I can tell you how many thousands of dollars people spend (the answer’s a lot). WeMo is Belkin’s consumer-friendly home automation starter kit, if you will. It’s a very easy way to automate just about anything in your home that uses a plug outlet (fan, lamp, coffee pot, space heater, fireplace). Automation means you can turn stuff on and off depending on time of day, day of week, or even by use of a sensor. Automation, and manual control, can all be done with the easy-to-use app. The WeMo device is a middle man between your plug and the plug outlet. It’s a little device with built-in WiFi. There’s also a WeMo motion sensor available. The app is really easy to use, and works anywhere in the world, so if you forget to shut a light, just launch WeMo and shut it off. WeMo works with any WiFi network and any iOS product. WeMo is modular, so you can buy multiple “switches” for automation. Switches cost $49.99 each. The WeMo Motion Sensor can be purchased as a bundle with a switch for $99.99. The Belkin WeMo is available today for pre-order.