Posted by Deliverator on 14th April 2007
So, I bought a Slingbox AV at Compusa the other day. The Slingbox is a funky little device that fills a niche that nobody even new existed until a few years ago. It lets one watch YOUR TV (or other video outputting device) where-ever you happen to be. It streams the video to you over whatever network connection (including Internet) you happen to have handy, and is smart enough to adjust the bitrate on the fly to suit your connection. There is viewing software available for Windows, Windows Mobile, Palm OS and Mac (the latter two being long promised/advertised and only recently being delivered). The Slingbox also includes a built in IR blaster to allow you to remotely control the connected audio video equipment. There are tons of supported AV devices which currently work with the Slingbox and include nicely designed on screen controls. In principle, the IR blaster should be able to control just about any audio/video equipment, but there is no facility that I can see to “train” it to use your remote’s control code should your device not be currently supported.
Set up of my device was as painless as could be. I plopped it on top of my TV, positioned the IR blasters in front of my Tivo, hooked up S-Video and RCA audio cables (included), plugged in the Wifi Taco in bridged mode and plugged in the power cable. I then downloaded and installed the latest client software. The software found my device, updated the firmware, helped me adjust some settings for best viewing and a few short minutes later I was viewing and controlling my Tivo from my laptop. Video quality at 640*480 at 1700 kbps average bitrate was quite good. I watched Ronin, a movie with a lot of car chases (some consider it to have the best car chases ever seen in film), gun fights and lots of fast action and I was quite pleased with the video quality and lack of tearing.
I also set up my router to allow for remote viewing/control of the Tivo from the internet. The quality was quite watchable at 320*240 given my limited upstream bandwidth (3/4 mbit).
If you are a TV junky or frequent traveller, a Slingbox is a great way to get access to your media while out of the house, and a simple way to sling your media to whatever device is most convenient while within your home.