More with the Matricom Arc

I posted last year about some experiences I had with the Matricom Arc.

Matricom ARC Home Management System

The TL;DR version of the previous article is that is I got one with a busted remote (friend of mine who repaired it said a piece needed gumming.) The tech I talked to didn’t seem particularly interested in sending a replacement. I wasn’t impressed with the 10/100 backplane, but if you look at it as an IoT device/ZWave hub then maybe it’s more useful.

The TL;DR version of this article: Ewwww…kay?

I had a *lot* of problems with it in the first run (which included not being able to get past the update screen,) so reset I it last week, and with a now-working remote moved on. Then I had a lot of problems. Here’s where we’re at today after a fresh startup with the $250 hub.

Starting setup

There were three or four updates that downloaded (seems like 3 system and one firmware.) Every time I got into the setup I’d be informed there was another one and I let it go through…not a huge deal but seems like you could just download one current update and move on.

I got sent an email for the account activation, meh, they know my home email address now. Not something I think needs to happen in order to use this box because they’re not selling me any services. Little bit annoying.

And what is that?

The very first thing I noticed is the Live TV section. I scrolled through and was amazed at the channel selection and wondered how in the world they were managing to do this legally and… yeah, no. Once I hit HBO and saw The Mummy playing I knew my brand spanking new little router was pulling IPTV streams.

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I had not put in any identifying info for any accounts I had that could legally access HBO, Cinemax, and a hoary host of fight channels. At this point the only thing the Arc had was an email address and a password.

At this point I do not feel comfortable with this being on even my guest network because I had no way of knowing that it was not auto violating copyright law in the background.

Matricom Arcs iptv

So I decided to slap a VPN on the thing if I was doing any more testing. I’m not getting a DMCA notice for a product review.

Oh hey security product

The device fails play protect certification. I refer to my startup guide. Nothing in it. I email support and hit up their forums. The forums are filled with spam and have been for months. There are no answers I can find here.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that I should be wearing Air Jordans and attempting to join the Illuminati to get this to work, however as the Masons won’t have me I’m a bit confused as to my next step.

The next day I call them. I talk to an operator and tell my problem and I’m told I’m getting transferred to tech support and click. Hung up. OK, try #2’s the charm.

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The person I speak to tells me that in the quick start guide it told me to register a new google product. Er, ok, I’ve got the paperwork here so … nope, not seeing it, but ok.

There’s a section where you have to register a new product to get an exemption for your device. I do this. Google Play doesn’t work. OK, I go back to the registration section and it auto enters a different Android ID this time… I now have two Google Product exemption devices on my account. Uh.. ok.

It doesn’t work. I decide to reboot the device and see if that helps.

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Nope, no reboot for me. I manually power cycle the device.

A world of security

I slap a VPN on, Google Play works with an exemption now, I feel somewhat better testing this out and I check out their security checkup section.

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Right off the bat I score a 3.8 out of 5 on their security metric. I check for why it’s not 5 and the reason I’m given is that the reason is that the parental controls PIN is set to the default.

OK, no link to the parental controls PIN changing screen, and I never find it. Really, I looked. Let’s leave it at this point I honestly don’t worry about parental controls but that’s the ONLY thing that is showing under security score.

Then I got a notification from a security product I use.

Oh hi WiFi

I got a notification from the thing I use to monitor my network. A new WiFi/device had been detected. That’s ok, I expected that. It says it’s open and there’s no password on it. Errr.

That I did not expect. I mean I guess I should have remembered this from last time which is why I pulled the plug, but it’s been a few months, I forgot.

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I simply pop into the WiFi page and… oh hey circle… nice to see you… um, are you going away any time soon? I am never able to change the WiFi name or password from this menu.

Soon I start seeing little toast popups telling me there was an error getting eth1 configuration or some such – never managed to snap a picture of them. They go away after a while and I went back to try. No go.

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I decided to hit the link on the top of the page for Matricom help or blog, nope.

Let’s wrap this up for now

I started wondering if perhaps I got some kiddy preview version of the product – like “dudes, this is what we can do if we just added Kodi!” but it’s listed on their Amazon page that it comes with access to thousands of channels, so guessing that’s not the case.

I never got a response from the support email I asked, and it looks from the forums like there’s nobody monitoring them.

I’d like to point out something also from the Matricom Arc FAQ page.

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OK, this is the manufacturer here saying the top speed is 1200 megabytes per second. (really not trying to sound petty) It’s 1200 megabits not megabytes, that’s fairly common mistake, but the important part is that’s the top speed of the WiFi — your actual connection speed to the internet is capped at 100mbit.

So you can talk to the Arc at 1200mbit, and it can talk to the internet at 100mbit. With the average cable modem being able to reach 1000 in some instances and Comcast/XFInity Performance Pro, Blast! Pro, and Gigabit offerings all being higher speed than that 100mbit backplane. Not great.

But as an IoT hub not terrible.

I’ll do some more on this another time.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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