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The SlingBox

You are at: Home nav1 Introducing The Slingbox Pro

Introducing The Slingbox Pro

The Slingbox from Sling Media lets you watch shows you record with your home TiVo over the internet

If you are a television junky, you are going to think Slinbox is pretty cool. If you are a frequent traveler, you are going to like Slingbox. If you happen to be a television junky that also happens to travel frequently, you are going to absolutely love Slingbox.

Slingbox can best be described as TiVo for travelers. Before TiVo and DVR, your choices for watching a show were as follows: (1) You could program your VCR to tape a specific show at a specific time, (2) you had to be in front of your TV to view a show at the time it aired, or (3) you could miss the show entirely. TiVo made it possible to automatically record multiple shows at different times with the greatest of ease. Now, with the advent of Slingbox, you can watch your favorite shows when they air even if you are on vacation. Slingbox, in conjuction with digital video such as TiVo, makes it possible to enjoy your favorite television shows anytime and anywhere.

Slingbox was developed by Sling Media. Their box, which resembles a gold bar in shape and size (but not weight or color), connects to a cable box, DVR, DVD player, VCR, or any other box connected to your television. The Slingbox does require that you have both a Windows operated computer with a high-speed Internet connection as well as a high-speed Internet connection at your remote location. Once you have hooked up your Slingbox and installed the companion SlingPlayer software on your laptop computer, you can view your favorite shows wherever you are. The best part is that neither your computer nor your television are required to be on in order to make the Slingbox work.

The steps needed to get a Slingbox up and running are fairly simple although it does take some technical ability. For example, the Slingbox connects to a network router, so it does help to have knowledge of how your home network functions. Setting up a Slingbox also requires some familiarity with your cable box or DVR. The instructions and startup guide make this process fairly painless.

The most basic configuration for the Slingbox is to connect your coaxial cable line to the input on the Slingbox. Next, you connect your TV to the output port on the Slingbox. The Slingbox then connects to your home network via Ethernet cable. This is a notable drawback to the Slingbox design. Most people likely don't have an Ethernet cable in close proximity to the television. Fortunately, there are other options available with the best one being an 802.11g Wi-Fi connection. After you have set up the hardware end of the Slingbox, you need only load the SlingPlayer software onto your laptop computer.

The great thing about Slingbox, other than the slick technology involved, is the quality of the video output. The picture is much better when viewed in the smaller window size. This is similar to the picture quality you see in Windows Media Player when viewing it in the smaller window as opposed to the maximized window. The Slingbox viewing software is designed to be easy to use and easily meets that goal.

Once the set up has been done, using the Slingbox at your destination is a snap. First, you will need to connect to your hotel's (or other place) Internet network. Next, launch the SlingPlayer viewer and begin viewing the cable programming offered by your local cable provider. It really is that easy!

Slingbox definitely provides the service that it advertises. We would, however, be remiss if we did not mention a few limitations. First, if you are traveling and somebody else is at your home, both of you must watch the same program. Also, only one viewer can be connected to Slingbox at a time. This means that if you have more than one laptop, you can only view programming on one of them at a time. Another drawback is that Slingbox, being a new technology, only runs new versions of Windows. Sling Media is responsive to this issue and is planning to release software that will allow Slingbox to run on handheld devices such as PDAs, pocket PCs and phones.

Slingbox is definitely the latest and greatest in gadgetry for your home and computer. And, unlike past innovations, it is actually reasonably priced. You can get a great product that requires nothing else (assuming, of course, that you already have a home network set up, and a laptop computer). If you are a frequent traveler, the Slingbox was tailor made just for you. If you are ready to experience the next generation of television, then head on over to Buy.com and experience the advent of Slingbox.


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