The slingbox has patently revolutionized the way we watch live TV. Despite its small size, a slingbox allows the user to control and view satellite, cable and personal video recording systems in the home via a tablet or smartphone, or a remote computer. It also enables streaming of DVR recordings and live sports. Before purchasing this kind of equipment, the consumer has to be aware of the essential aspects to consider in a slingbox.
Set up should be easy:
There are a few slingbox models on the market. You can go for the one that suits the type of television service you have in the home. This may be a satellite hookup, basic cable, a high definition TV or cable box.
In addition, you have to determine whether you want to connect more than one source of video to the device. Other video sources aside from a television may include a DVR, DVD player, or a closed circuit camera.
The Slingbox 500 has been proven to be superbly easy to set up, which is a welcome change to the original units in 2006. It has component cables as well as an HDMI connection for non-stop viewing of encrypted channels. All the cables needed should be in the package: HDMI, component, standard audio and video cables along with an Ethernet cable that is useful for direct connection to an Internet modem. A quick start guide should be included for effortless installation, along with a power adapter.
The Slingbox will need either a wired or wireless Internet connection. Bear in mind also that you should only connect the supplied power supply system to the slingbox.
If a high-definition source is unavailable, go for a Slingbox AV that allows hookup of just one video source to the unit. The Slingbox AV offers everything without breaking the bank.
A Slingbox Solo works great for HD service while enabling you to stream one video source to a cellphone or laptop. This is a mid-range model that comes at a reasonable price and won’t pose any issues if you choose to get HD service in the future.
The Slingbox PRO is top-of-the-line and offers high-definition compatibility along with the option for connecting up to four different video sources.
The unit should be easy to install. Just connect it to the set top box and TV, then connect to to the Internet. Work through the onscreen menu for the appropriate settings.
Convenience is key to optimized use:
The easy-to-understand buttons on the simple and well-designed remote should provide just the right level of resistance when pressed.
For the Slingbox 500 to work optimally, two sets of connections are necessary. This entails running an HDMI cable to the unit from a cable or satellite box, then running a second HDMI to the TV for the signal to pass through while remaining untouched.
Slingbox aims to offer unlimited control of TV signals that companies including Comcast, Time Warner, U-Verse and DirecTV along with their networks limit access to. The major cable providers could render Slingbox obsolete any time should they provide customers access to a webpage to watch via a subscription they already have at home. Although that is not expected to occur anytime soon, Slingbox still proves to be the perfect solution. To circumvent this issue, an analog component video connection can be added from the cable or satellite box to the device.
There won’t be a noticeable difference in video quality between the HDMI signal-streamed Slingbox channels and those that require a component video connection if you can get a hold of hyper-fast Internet connection both to the home network and the remote location.
An onscreen menu process is offered by the new Slingbox, which enables WiFi network connectivity for online access. If the Internet modem is right next to the TV, connecting directly through Ethernet instead of going through a wireless network is best. Generally, the setup is designed to be easy so users can be up and running in no time.
The Slingbox genuinely controls the TV. Anything being shown on TV can be streamed as long as the TV is connected to the Slingbox. The unit monopolizes the video source, thus when a user watches a show remotely and someone in the home network switches to a different channel, the show also gets changed on the receiving device. Unless you can make do with disrupted viewing as a remote user, or are just the lone user of the unit, you may just prefer installation of the Slingbox on a dedicated video source, such as a spare room TV.
For iPad and iPhone owners who want to use the device with both, the software has to be bought twice, as it’s not universal. For use with the iPad, the Slingbox controls resemble those on the web browser, plus an image of the home remote is displayed onscreen. The software may not be fast but this issue will have more to do with the Internet connection than the software itself. Fundamentally, you can enjoy consistently strong viewing experience once you’ve chosen something to watch. Doing fast forwarding during commercials on DVR recording won’t provide the same precision control over the whole experience due to the Internet lag. The best thing to do is mute on the commercials.
The device requires apps:
The SlingPlayer apps is needed for use with the Slingbox 350 and Slingbox 500. The SlingPlayer for Mobile Devices enables TV streaming to smartphones and tablets via 3G, 4G or WiFi. On the other hand, the SlingPlayer for Connected Devices is ideal for streaming to Internet-enabled high-def TVs. The SlingPlayer for the Web is designed for home computer streaming, enabling users to enjoy television via Slingbox.com and SlingPlayer for Facebook.
The cost of the unit doesn’t come with the SlingPlayer apps, which should be taken as an additional expense.