Solicited Review: Mohu Curve 50 Indoor HDTV Antenna

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During Prime Day, I saw a deal I couldn’t pass up: the Samsung 55" 4K curved TV. I love 4K TVs as second monitors for my laptop. The amount of real estate and high DPI means you can have a dozen windows open at the same time and not feel cramped.

I don’t watch much TV other than CW’s The Flash, but it’s nice to have a live feed for things like the Super Bowl, major news events, etc., especially since cable and telecom providers make us jump through absurd hoops to watch anything online. So when the Mohu team offered me a chance to demo the Mohu Curve, I dived in.

Features: What’s in the Box?

At its core, the Mohu Curve is nothing more than a digital TV antenna. However, unlike most of its competitors, Mohu attempted to make it look reasonably nice. The Curve is about a foot long and 8 inches high, and looks like… well, a curved piece of plastic. This is an improvement over most HDTV antennae that look like plastic sheeting stapled to a cable.

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The Curve plugs into the nearly ubiquitous USB power supply found on most modern TVs; it’ll also work plugged into any other powered USB source.

Once you unpack it and place the antenna where you want it, you plug the Curve into your TV through its coaxial jack and tell your TV to tune to it. After 5-10 minutes of scanning through all the channels available, your TV will be ready to use it.

Positives

The Curve is dead simple to use. Plug it in, follow your TV’s instructions, and you’re up and running with live feeds. There’s no additional software to configure besides whatever your TV is built with.

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The Curve also has better reception than many of its competitors; you don’t need to monkey around with positioning. Just place it near any window or wall that isn’t a Faraday cage.

If you’re unfamiliar, a Faraday cage is any metal enclosure which blocks electromagnetic frequencies. Some houses have substantial amounts of metal in the walls; putting any antenna next to a metal wall will give you poor reception. Rule of thumb: if a room or place in your house has terrible Wi-Fi and mobile phone reception, it’s probably not going to have great over-the-air TV reception either.

Drawbacks & Limitations

The Curve has a few limitations; first, I don’t understand why it only comes with a coaxial output. If it had an HDMI output, I could plug it directly into my laptop as well as a TV. That’d be nice. Perhaps in a future version!

The Curve’s maximum resolution output is 1080p. This is a limitation of over-the-air TV. No TV station that I know of broadcasts over-the-air at a 4K resolution, so if your TV’s up sampling engine is poor, you’ll have a grainy picture.

For TV stations that broadcast in regular SD (aka 480p), you’ll have a picture that is unwatchable close up on a very large screen.

The Curve is also only as good as the local TV stations and what they broadcast. The Curve’s edition numbers indicate the maximum practical range of that antenna; the Curve 30 is designed for a maximum 30 mile radius from the transmitter. I would strongly recommend that you cut range estimates by 25%. I wouldn’t buy the Curve 30 if I lived 25 miles away from the station; buy the Curve 50 instead.

Use Cases

Mohu talks about cutting the cord, which is certainly one use-case for the Curve and their other products. However, the use-case I find more valuable is for second/alternate TVs. I have regular TV coming into my house from a Verizon FIOS line. I’m unwilling to buy a second converter box and a bunch of wiring just to make my second monitor a TV set. That’s a lot of hassle and extra monthly expense I’m not interested in, especially since I don’t watch much TV.

The Mohu Curve brings live feeds into my second monitor affordably and conveniently. I didn’t need to run any extra cable or pay Verizon a dime more. Combined with the smart functionality of my TV (built in Netflix, etc.), the Mohu Curve can either help you cut the cord or never need more cord.

Conclusion

If you want to cut the cord, or you want more TV without more recurring expenses, and you live in an area with good over-the-air TV reception, consider the Mohu Curve. It’s available on Amazon and a bunch of other places.

Disclosure: Mohu is a client of my employer. The Mohu PR team gifted a Mohu Curve to me as part of a blogger/influencer outreach program. I was given no other compensation, but indirectly benefit financially from their patronage as a client. All product links in this article are Amazon affiliate links.


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Twitter audience marketing growth hack

Twitter, despite its woes as a company, has plenty to offer marketers, including what may be the most amazing competitive intelligence hack ever. By hack, I mean a usable trick, not a violation of law. Want to know how your audience stacks up against a competitor? This Twitter audience marketing growth hack will help.

We begin with Twitter Audience Insights. If you’re not familiar, Twitter released this last year as a competitive option to Facebook’s Audience Insights, to prove Twitter could help marketers gain more insight into their audiences. To find it, log into Ads.Twitter.com and visit the Analytics tab, then choose Audience Insights:

Audience Insights Growth Hack

Once you’re in, you’ll see Twitter’s general audience. You can add your followers for comparison:

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Above, we see all Twitter in the dark maroon bars, and mine in the pinkish color in the main section; on the right, we see household income. Twitter says my audience, my followers are more affluent than the average Twitter user.

This is a useful comparison to understand our audience versus the general population. Let’s now get into hacking territory. Instead of the broad audience, click on the audience menu and see what other options we have. The important one is Tailored Audiences:

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Twitter Tailored Audiences are audiences we upload to Twitter via the Audience Manager:

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We choose to create a new audience from our own list:

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And here’s the hack: we can upload any list of Twitter handles we want. Which means we can upload a competitor’s followers list:

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Where would you get such a list? Easy: go to the competitor’s Twitter profile page and extract it. It’s public information – which is why this is a marketing hack but neither illegal nor unethical. We can also use tools like FollowerWonk or Sysomos MAP to gather follower lists.

Once the Tailored Audience is uploaded and processed – which can take up to a day – go back to Audience Insights and add the competitor’s list to the tool. We can then compare our followers vs. our competitor’s followers:

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From here, we can draw conclusions about the kinds of followers we have versus what our competitors have. Analyze income, professions, and more:

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Above, we see that the competitor’s audience is on par by income, slightly more imbalanced gender-wise, and more self-employed. If my business doesn’t serve the self-employed, then I know my Twitter audience strategy is delivering better results than my competitor’s.

Twitter Audience Insights are a powerful tool for understanding not only our audience, but our competitors’ audiences as well. Audience Insights can lend understanding to both B2B and B2C marketers, though B2C will benefit more from the broader lifestyle and consumer behavior sections.

Conveniently, if we find a competitor’s Tailored Audience to be more on target than ours, we simply launch an advertising campaign to the competitor’s Tailored Audience to recruit them.

Try this Twitter audience marketing growth hack to compare your Twitter audience building efforts to your competitors and then take action to build the audience you want!


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Publishers will never stop ad blockers

Publishers, in an attempt to recoup revenue losses, are trying to block the ad blockers. They are doomed to fail, not because ad blocking technology is superior, but because of content shock.

Since the Internet became public, we’ve been in a technological arms race. For every new advertising tool developed by marketers, enterprising technologists develop an effective counter.

  • Bad marketers created spam; technologists developed very good spam filters.
  • Bad marketers tried to hijack search engines; search engine companies developed artificial intelligence to defeat them.
  • Bad marketers flooded the web with terrible, irrelevant ads; technologists developed ad blocking software.

Today, publishers and advertisers try to block ad blockers:

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Why is this doomed to fail? Ad blocking technology will eventually learn to detect the pixels detecting ad blockers and fool sites, but that’s not the reason publishers will fail.

The reason publishers will fail to stop ad blockers is because of content shock, the phenomenon described by Mark Schaefer in which content creators flood the world with far more content than audiences can ever consume. Let’s look at an example.

In 2013, Instagram users loaded 40 million photos per day to the service – 27,000 photos a minute. In late 2015, Instagram users loaded 90 million photos per day to the service – 62,500 photos a minute. Suppose, out of all the photos on Instagram, 5% are really great. 10% are good. Maybe 65% are mediocre. The last 20% are awful.

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In just three years, Instagram users are loading 2.25x more photos to the service. The number of great photos loaded in 2016 is greater than the number of good photos in 2013.

What does that mean for us? It means audiences don’t have to tolerate anything less than great. Good isn’t good enough when our options for great content explode by 225% in just 3 years.

For publishers and advertisers seeking to put up walls blocking ad blockers, the audience doesn’t have to tolerate the wall. Instead of complying, the audience will simply move onto a different source of great content. The publisher loses the ad revenue and the audience’s loyalty.

What’s the solution for marketers and advertisers? Create great ads. We know for certain that audiences will watch great ads. According to the official YouTube blog, audiences have watched Super Bowl 50 ads – yes, even Puppy Monkey Baby – more than 330 million times. Create ads people want, ads that are as good as the great content consumers will choose, and we won’t need ad blockers.


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