Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Modulus?
Modulus is the first ever all-in-one solution for quality home theater systems. It combines a DVR, Blu-Ray/DVD/CD player, networked movie server, streaming video and music, and personal media organizer into one. No more switching inputs! Upload your music, movies, and family media to enjoy ALL your content in our elegant, proprietary user interface with an enormous up to 20TB of storage. The amazing voice-controlled universal remote makes search a breeze. The ultimate in quality, Modulus supports 4K, allows you to skip commercials, record your streaming content, and view all your media across any room in the house.
- Who invented Modulus?
Modulus is the creation of Steven Schulz, an Austin, TX tech executive and entrepreneur. Steve was formerly with Texas Instruments for 19 years before becoming president and CEO of Si2, a global electronics consortium. Steve’s vision and ingenuity has driven the project since inception but he is quick to share credit with a team of talented software developers and engineers. In total the Modulus platform is built on ten years of proprietary software development and 26 million lines of code.
- Where can I buy a Modulus system?
Right here! Fill out this simple Contact Us form and we’ll put you in touch with an awesome member of our Preferred Dealer Network. These knowledgeable, professional home theater system integrators are located near you and they are trained in every facet of Modulus’ operation and maintenance.
- Does Modulus replace my cable company DVR?
Yes, the Digital Video Recorder in Modulus is far superior to the restrictive, low quality units that cable companies typically provide. Modulus allows you to skip commercials, record streaming, watch your programs quickly in “Time Save Mode” and record up to six programs at the same time. The Program Guide that comes with your Modulus DVR includes everything that cable company DVRs provides, with more information and easy-to-browse screens.
- How do I play my content throughout my house?
By using the Modulus Mx1. The Mx1 is much smaller than the main M1 unit, and fits easily behind the screen of any wall-mounted TV screen. The Mx1 is perfect for sharing your content in any room, on the patio, or even a garage apartment. The Mx1 comes with the same remote control and delivers the same experience as the M1 device.
- Will Modulus fit in with the other components in my equipment stack?
Yes. With its colorful light display Modulus looks great sitting on any media table, but also fits in with any equipment stack. We provide a 2U accessory for rack mounting the M1 unit. Modulus is low power in operation and also stays cool.
- How do I upload all my personal media to Modulus?
Easy! First, you can upload using our Blu-ray/DVD/CD player with convenient front-loading slot. Second, you can attach your video camera or smartphone using our custom Modulus adaptors and upload direct from the device. Modulus also supports Netfolders that connect network accessible media in your home. We support flash drives and external USB drives as well as downloaded content. Modulus stores all your media on its massive massive internal hard drive of 6TB, 12TB or 20TB, and also redundantly in the cloud.
- Will Modulus work with my existing home automation system?
Yes, Modulus is designed to work smoothly with most major home automation systems like Control4, Elan, Crestron, Savant and others.
- How do I get the latest software updates for my Modulus?
Modulus automatically updates your unit at night when new software updates are generated.
- What’s new since last year?
There is so much that’s new! The biggest news is that the vision of Modulus is finally real and shipping! Plus, we have recently been awarded three patents, including the exclusive ability to record any streaming app - in high definition, like a DVR. This year, we now integrate beautiful 4K upscaling for non-4K content with automatic (or manual) live picture controls, with HDR auto-adjustments for HDR content. Also, we have a a new Unified Collections view – this integrates and simplifies all your series so you no longer have to care about whether it came from cable, over-the-air (OTA), disc, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. You have it all, right in one place.
- What took so long?
Last year, our original tuner supplier failed to deliver, requiring MMS to switch suppliers (and design a new circuit board). We expected volume shipments well before CEDIA, however they didn’t arrive until after CEDIA. All DVR-related drivers, DRM, setup wizards, and program guide data integration required these boards.
- What drivers do you support?
We support Control4, Elan, and Crestron today, with more coming after CEDIA, prioritized based upon dealer requests.
- Why should I buy now vs. wait for the 4K optical drive model?
Why would you want to wait? Although a 4K UHD M1 Server will be coming, the current M1 is 4K ready and can be updated as an equivalent.
The M1 is “4K ready”, meaning that it plays content at 4K resolution using 100% hardware-based decoding and rendering. We have a partnership with Intel to provide our HDCP 2.2 graphics stack on their advanced GPU graphics hardware. So, any 4K media files that are not embedded in a physical disc is fully supported today. Plus, the software gets updates automatically in background, so it will never be obsolete. We have already verified our software with UHD Bluray discs for both playback and library import, and this will not be held back from users who purchase the current M1 model.
The only missing piece is a 4K optical drive (which the industry has not yet manufactured in slot-loading form). So, we are making plans to offer a 4K tray-load drive that plugs into a USB 3.1 port in the current M1. Even without that, it is possible for external 4K disc imports to be used in the M1 with no changes required, because we support external drives and network folders.
A subsequent model, designed around a tray-load optical drive, is also planned for the future.
There is nothing even remotely close to the M1 in features, user experience, or value, so there is no reason to wait!
- How does MMS provide support?
MMS offers a simple email@example.com email address for most technical support, where we can quickly route the request to the department that can provide the best response. In addition, every unit has a one-click ability to send diagnostic data directly to MMS in background, and can even attach diagnostic videos for visual issues. We also have special remote screen session support for special case support.
- What is your warranty / exchange policy?
Eighteen (18) months – All included, bumper to bumper warranty.
- Do you support 4K / UHD / HDR?
Yes! M1 playback of UHD / HDR is supported, in hardware, for any local or network video file or imported disc. The M1 does not yet have a 4K optical drive, but this is being planned for an upcoming model, and MMS plans to offer a USB 4K optical drive as an add-on for the current M1 model.
- Do you support Dolby TrueHD? Dolby Atmos?
Yes – The M1 / Mx1 supports digital audio pass-through, so these formats may be correctly decoded by the connected pre-amp, receiver, or TV.
- How long will delivery take once I place an order?
In general, we can deliver product within 5-7 days across the U.S. Place your orders right away before dealers may have to wait on the next factory production run, which could add 4-6 weeks or more.
- You can’t do that legally / Is it legal?
MMS has thoroughly worked through all legal details and is in full compliance with current U.S. federal law. For details, refer to the MMS Legal FAQ.
- Can I expand using NAS? Can I use my own hard drives?
Yes, for all content except from DRM-protected cable TV (cable DVR recordings must reside in the 6TB-20TB internal storage). We support importing of network content, or attaching to network content (“NetFolder”). We also support importing or attaching to USB-attached external drives. For dealer expansion of internal disk configurations, please contact MMS for details.
- Do you support over-the-air (OTA) antennas? Can I mix and match?
Yes, we support OTA tuning, and we support mix-and-match of OTA with cable.
- Do you have mobile apps for a tablet / phone?
Yes, by specifying the M1 / Mx1 IP address, any unit may be controlled using our control app on Andriod phones or tablets (iOS is planned). We also offer an Android-based app that supports content playback / DVR scheduling. Both apps are currently under development to update the UI and some controls.
- What happens if the remote control breaks?
No problem – any other remote from another room may be used as a fast substitute. Replacement Modulus remotes are available from our website for $95.
- How does voice control work? Do you support Alexa?
Using an internet connection, the Modulus remote directly sends voice requests to the M1, which uses Google servers to translate voice waveforms to text strings. The M1 then applies internal pattern-matching to convert the request into immediate commands. Using close-mic input from our remote and local processing provides an efficient voice solution, however we are seeking market input on potential Alexa integration.
- How much does it cost?
Please work directly with our VP Sales, Mr. Donn Adams, who will be happy to work with you to be set up as a Modulus Authorized Dealer.
- Are you shipping to [country X]? How do you distribute your products?
The initial product rollout plan is for the U.S. market, using direct relationships between MMS and our network of Modulus Authorized Dealers. MMS will also be supporting additional countries using a distributor model, and negotiations are beginning now.
- Does MMS develop, sell, or provide support for unauthorized DRM circumvention technology?
- Does MMS provide any local or remote protected video content?
No. All content is provided directly by the consumer through their own authentication credentials with their respective service providers. MMS products only support playback and/or in-home time-shifting for consumer convenience.
- How does MMS legally record cable TV programming?
MMS products include internal tuners and accept a CableCard from cable providers for access to live TV content. The CableCard ensures secure access to subscribed channels. MMS products can also accept over-the-air (OTA) TV antenna programming. DRM-protected channels require DRM features in the tuner hardware that validate a “protected path” to the display device. This protected path requires a return loop using the HDCP copy protection scheme, which is supported in the tuner card, CPU, GPU, main board chipset, and loadable firmware / software drivers.
The graphics stack drivers were developed for MMS by Intel, and these drivers that enable the hardware HDCP require that the operating system be validated at boot time with “trusted boot” technology, included in the shipped operating system. This ensures a valid protected path.
- Is commercial-skipping lawful?
Yes. As proof, there are multiple brands of DVRs that today prominently advertise some form of commercial-skipping. While other solutions are far more limited in scope of channels or times of day supported, the concept has been well-accepted across the industry as a legitimate DVR feature. MMS is unique primarily in that it uses automated software technology, rather than manual labor, to flag commercial sequences.
- How does MMS legally import optical disc content?
For DVD discs, the technology used has been in the public domain for 20 years, included in every major distribution of the linux operating system freely provided to millions of users. U.S. copyright law explicitly allows for reverse-engineering of technological measures when required for the purpose of interoperability, as was the case with linux, where no commercial alternatives were available. Preventing disc playback on popular operating systems could be an anti-trust concern over restraint of free trade.
For Blu-ray discs, where the principle remains the same but there is less precedent, MMS has elected in an abundance of caution not to supply active decryption technology, but instead permit this to be an individual decision of the user.
- How does MMS legally record streaming content?
U.S. copyright law places restrictions on how DRM-protected content may be decrypted. The methods used inside Modulus to record streaming content does not include any decryption technology. The decryption is handled using the provider’s decryption technology as delivered to the user’s device from them directly. Modulus has developed a technique that intercepts the stream after it has been legally decrypted for a given valid user account. Thus, the challenges of stream recording in high definition are entirely technical in nature, not legal.
- Have other companies successfully used disc import methods? Have any been sued or shutdown?
Over a half-dozen other companies serving the home theater market with disc import capability have used the same method for many years (some over 10 years). Management research and industry expert inputs indicate that none of these companies were shut down, or sued, for violating U.S. copyright law.
Kaleidescape was sued for breach of contract with the DVD CCA. They won in a March 2007 ruling, but it was overturned 5 years later on appeal over a technicality. The license agreement they signed included adherence to the entirety of the “CSS General Specifications”, but their product was centered around violating one of the terms regarding simultaneous use. Had they not signed that agreement with the DVD CCA, they would not have been in violation.
- What are the primary copyright laws that apply?
The most relevant law is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Specifically, Chapter 12 of Section 103 of the DMCA generated the most controversy relating to media content. It makes it illegal to circumvent technological measures (i.e. encryption) that control access to work (“access control”), when circumvention is the only or primary commercial purpose. While it is legal for a consumer to use circumvention to make personal copies of media he/she has rights to access, it is not legal to traffic in the circumvention software that enables it. MMS avoids this issue because MMS does not “traffic in any circumvention software” and furthermore provides no support for such software (the consumer makes that choice for their personal use after installing the unit).
Just as important, there are critical exemptions in the DMCA, including that copy-control circumvention (once access is authorized) is not prohibited. Also, the DMCA upholds the long-standing “Fair Use” doctrine permitting limited duplication of copyrighted material for personal use without requiring permission. Furthermore, the DMCA explicitly allows reverse-engineering of technological measures for the purpose of interoperability. This is the exact situation with the DVD and Blu-Ray libraries discussed above.