Monsoon Multimedia is a company that manufactures, develops and sells video streaming and place-shifting devices that allow consumers to view and control live television on PCs connected to a local (home) network or from remotely from a broadband-connected PC or mobile phone.
The devices enable streaming and recording of video content from video sources including live TV, DVD players, video game consoles, and TiVo to multiple PCs wirelessly. Multiple users can connect to the HAVA from any Internet connection simultaneously with channel-changing capabilities and full operation of the video source. The devices allow a PC to operate as a personal video recorder with pause, fast forward and rewind functions. The HAVA device also works as a TV tuner for Windows Media Center-enabled PCs without being directly connected to a video source.
Monsoon Multimedia was created in 2004 by the founders of Dazzle and Emuzed. HAVA's main engineering and development operations are based in Tomsk, Russia and New Delhi, India. In 1996, the founder of Monsoon Multimedia, Prabhat Jain, founded Dazzle, where he developed the PC hardware and software products to compress video based on MPEG standards. In 2000, he founded Emuzed, where Prabhat Jain created a TiVo-type product for the PC based on Microsoft's Media Center Edition PC operating system.
In November 2008, Prabhat Jain announced the appointment of consumer technology industry veteran William Loesch as CEO of the company. Loesch brought 30 years of experience in the computer software and hardware industries, primarily in the consumer digital video sector. Loesch is not currently listed on the company website as an active member of the team (11/2/2011).
GPL and Patent lawsuits
What was claimed to be the first US lawsuit over a GPL violation concerned use of BusyBox in an embedded device. The lawsuit, case 07-CV-8205 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York was filed on 20 September 2007 by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) on behalf of the Busybox developers against Monsoon Multimedia Inc., after BusyBox code was discovered in a firmware upgrade and attempts to contact the company had apparently failed. The case was settled with release of the Monsoon version of the source and payment of an undisclosed amount of money to Andersen and Landley.
In January 2013 Sling Media filed suit alleging infringement of five patents, against both Belkin International and Monsoon Multimedia in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Belkin part of the suit was settled in May 2013, and in December 2013 the United States International Trade Commission found that Monsoon was indeed violating the patents. The commission issued cease-and-desist orders and banned the importation of Monsoon Multimedia products into the United States.
Monsoon Multimedia's line of place-shifting devices enable multiple networked PCs within the home to simultaneously view live TV or DVR content. The number of PCs and mobile device that can connected to a single Monsoon device are limited only by the bandwidth of the network or broadband connection. Only one remote client at a time can view a place-shifted program, but the remote device can be watching while multiple home PCs watch the same program.
Released in August 2010, the Vulkano adds an electronic program guide to its PC software, as well as support for YouTube video streaming on TV with an included remote control, as well as future support for Netflix and other streaming video services. Future Google TV web-browsing support is planned for 2011. There is also a Vulkano model that includes a 500 GB external hard drive for DVR recordings, which can be accessed from mobile devices. The Vulkano does not support Windows Media Center integration as the previous HAVA models did, but includes UPnP technology for photo, music, and video streaming from PCs and mobile devices. In November 2010, Monsoon added a Vulkano Platinum model, which does not include any storage drive, program guide, or recording capabilities.
Announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, the Vulkano Flow is a mobile accessory. When connected to any set-top box the Vulkano Flow can stream TV content to mobile devices inside or outside of the home. It will soon be available for $99.
Also announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, the Vulkano Blast integrates DVR, web video, placeshifting, Universal Plug and Play streaming UPnP, Mobile Video Recording and 160 GB internal storage. Its approximate price is $200.
HAVA Platinum HD
Controls high-definition digital cable, satellite or DVR TV programming on any PC or mobile phone. Turns a PC into personal video recorder (PVR) by recording TV shows to the hard disk or watch TV from Microsoft’s Media Center in any room within a home.
The HAVA Platinum HD also includes component inputs and has ability to transmit a HD program in widescreen aspect ratio, though not in full HD resolution. The HAVA Platinum takes a 720p or 1080i signal and converts it to standard-definition resolution before streaming it over a network or over the Internet. This device also adds PC software that stores streamed content, enabling the PC or laptop to pause, rewind and fast-forward streamed content. The stored program can also be burned to DVD.
HAVA Wireless HD
Controls HD digital cable, satellite, or DVR programs wirelessly on any WiFi-enabled PC or mobile phone. It can stream wirelessly, DVD-quality video direct from the TV source to multiple Media Center PCs simultaneously. It can also pause, rewind, fast forward, and record live TV programs on a PC.
HAVA Titanium HD WiFi
Controls HD digital cable, satellite, or DVR programs wirelessly on any WiFi enabled PC or mobile phone. Streams wirelessly, DVD quality video direct from the TV source to multiple Windows Vista or Media Center PCs simultaneously.
The HAVA Titanium HD adds Wi-Fi to make a wireless connection to a Wi-Fi-equipped broadband router or modem, and it features two USB ports. One is for plugging in an external USB HDD drive that can then be used as a DVR. The other USB port is for the included Wi-Fi 802.11g adapter, which sits in a cradle and is connected to a 3-foot USB cable so the adapter can be located in a spot with good reception.
The HAVA devices come with a HAVA Player software interface that is downloaded onto the user's PC or mobile phone. This interface enables the user to send remote control commands from their PC to their TV source. This is done through the included wide range of virtual remote control designs. The Vulkano device includes an electronic program guide (EPG) enabled software player.
With the release of the Vulkano in August 2010, Monsoon introduced free Vulkano players for the iPad and iPhone, which only support WiFi, and not yet 3G connections. Monsoon also released an Android and BlackBerry player, and plans a future release for Symbian.
Monsoon Multimedia announced support for Windows Mobile in May 2007 enabling users to connect to the HAVA and view video content from video sources such as live TV from a smartphone, pocket PC or PDA.
In April 2008, Monsoon Media announced HAVA Player support for the Nokia N800, N810 and N810 WiMax Internet Tablets enabling users to connect to a HAVA device to view and control video content from video sources such as live TV from a Nokia Internet Tablet.
In May 2008, Monsoon Multimedia announced the HAVA Player for S60, HAVA support for Symbian S60 3rd edition mobile phones. The HAVA Player for S60 enables users to connect to a HAVA device to view and control their home TV from S60 mobile phones.