Sling Media Slingbox

Sling Media Slingbox

Slingbox.jpgThe engineers at Sling Media must really identify with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Mike Teavee, because they’ve invented a device that enables you to watch your home television anywhere you have Internet access.

Actually, the Slingbox does more than that: It can control any media device (DVD player, camcorder, etc.) outfitted with an infrared remote-control receiver, and then stream that device’s A/V output over the Internet to your remote PC. (You can also set up multiple Slingboxes, one for each device). In short, the Slingbox is an ingenious and well-executed idea. Here’s how it works.

Simply plug your device’s A/V outputs into the Slingbox (we used the S-Video and stereo output from a satellite TV tuner/DVR), hardwire (unfortunately) the Slingbox to your router, and then install the player software onto as many computers as you’d like. Uncommonly thorough documentation made configuring both the Slingbox and our router a snap.

Once you’ve installed the SlingPlayer software and opened a port on your router, you can control whatever device you’ve plugged into the Slingbox from anywhere you have Internet access. Your commands are sent over the network to the Slingbox, which transmits them to the device through an infrared emitter. Media then streams back to your router, over the Internet, and to your PC.

We took a laptop to a coffee shop with a Wi-Fi hotspot and watched both live TV and programs we had previously recorded on our set-top DVR at home. Native resolution is only 320x240 pixels, so we didn’t get anything close to a home-theater experience, but neither did we experience any audio or video breakup.

Our only real gripe with the Slingbox is its goofy formfactor. The silver brick with the “My TV, My Music…” messaging punched into its top just doesn’t integrate well with a home-entertainment system.
—Michael Brown

Month Reviewed: December 2005

Verdict: 8



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