วันพุธที่ 2 มกราคม พ.ศ. 2551
We have a lake cabin and my wife has been telecommuting there for much of the summer. We can get DSL there but there is no cable and given our proximity to trees and a hill, satellite reception is also unlikely. The choices seem to be to have her download her shows from iTunes or buy a slingbox and server TV from a Tivo we have at home. I found a good sale on the Slingbox so I decided it was worth a try.
I guess I've been a bit tainted with several recent purchases of high tech items. Of late, items I've purchased promise the moon and deliver much less. Even though I read the review here and on CNet, I was prepared for a bear of a time getting this product to work.
I initially had some trouble during installation. The Slingbox identified that the router I had at home (an ActionTec router used for Verizon Fios) need to be manually configured. Do to the fact that Verizon didn't leave a manual, or passwords with the router I had to call them for technical support. A couple of hours later, I had the router up (and configured a bit better for my home network). After that the installation went flawlessly.
The next day I met my family at the cabin, and tried running the Slingbox player. Amazingly it just worked. No fuss, no muss. Today I installed the sling player on my wife's computer. It's a simple download from Slingbox.com and I inserted my slingboxes id number, and again it worked without a hitch.
This was just too easy. The quality of the video is better than I expected. The only issue I have with the slingbox is that each remote control action takes several seconds to complete. A minor issue really. All-in-all it was a great purchase. I'd heartily recommend it.
We traveled a lot over the holidays and kind of went crazy having to watch all the commercials that we normally skip at home thanks to our DirecTivo.
Enter the Slingbox.
Setup was easy. The Mac client works great. We have DSL with a uplink speed of only about 500 kilobits/sec, yet once established on a channel, the picture and sound are excellent. Now when on the road, we watch our favorite shows off of our Tivo on one of the laptops, accessing all the Tivo bells and whistles. We can even watch over my Verizon EVDO card.
Even though I have it set up using Network Address Translation (NAT) at home and accessing through a NAT-style connection remotely, it totally works, which was a pleasant surprise.
Because of the Slingbox's streaming technology, it does play several seconds "behind" what the Tivo is pumping out, making the remote a bit sluggish, but this is not enough of a problem to drop a star on the review...
When accessing it at home, you get a multi-megabit/sec connection, and the picture and sound are extraordinary. A home automation fetishist considering an expensive video distribution system would spend a lot less money and run a lot less cable buying multiple Slingboxes and simply moving the video over ethernet. (Only one client can connect to a Slingbox at a time, however.)
I bought my Slingbox because I travel a lot between New York, Delaware, Atlanta and Nebraska and wanted to be able to watch and schedule the shows on my Cox HD DVR.
It works just like I thought it would and I'm very happy.
The issues I had with setup are: 1) I had to open a port on my router because COX blocks port 80 and 2) I had to change the port once again because one of my laptops uses McAfee which has only a handful of open ports that it ignores. [...]
The online support is OK but it may take some time to find just what you need. Since the slingbox needs to be connected to your router, you may either need to wire an ethernet cable to your cable box or get a wireless access point. I chose to wire because I was afraid that wireless might degrade the speed and thus my picture quality.
The uses I find are: 1) Sometimes when I want to watch TV in my room, I watch my downstairs cable box on my laptop upstairs from my bed. 2) I had my Dad (who has an rather slow DSL line and lives 1200 miles away) install the slingbox player software on his PC. Now he can watch all of my premium stations from his computer since he only has the most basic of channels. He says the quality is very good as long as he doesn't use the PC while watching. 3) While traveling, I can watch my shows and set my cable box remotely. It's like being in front of the TV. 4) I've plugged an older remote control enabled camcorder into the slingbox and it can be used remotely as a high quality webcam for my Dad to see my son.
What's neat is that the slingbox software gives you a virtual remote control that looks very much like the control I have. It has mostly all the features of the real thing but I can't seem to erase programs remotely. I can, however, set the program to erase if space is needed.
The slingbox is a set-top box device that lets me watch and control
my video devices from anywhere. Setting up the box was easy,
it worked within 15 minutes. The most time consuming (as always)
is routing all kinds of wires at the back of the cabinet, and getting
rid of the empty packages and boxes. Even though the slingbox
comes with many necessary wires, a trip to RadioShack was necessary
to get some v-splitting cables. I hooked up all 4 available inputs:
-HD tivo series3 (component input)
-tivo series 2 (cvbs input)
-sattelite settop box (s-video)
The button to switch between these inputs in the slingplayer
is hidden 2-levels deep in one of th menus. Otherwise, the
slingplayer UI is nicely executed.
When playing at home, the quality of the HD input is
excellent, similar to playing a DVD in my laptop.
Digital artefacts are present, but no worse than my plasma
TV. When reached from the internet, only 1/10th of the bandwidth
is avaiable (my DSL does 300kbs upstream). The slingbox does
an admirable job in dealing with these bandwidth limitations.
Playback is remarkably smooth (though not nearly HD, obviously).
Overall, this is a neat gadget. Not as great as Tivo, but
its a lot of fun for $250 (box + cable).
-Very well engineered video encoding gets the most out of any connection.
-Well-designed player works. Now every laptop in the house is a TV.
-Slingbox does not run hot when standy. Most settop boxes (except tivo)
have huge standby power consumption (sometimes 30watts).
-Very nicely design packaging, almost as much eye candy as Apple products.
The slingbox does not have to be installed visibly, but it
can since it not an eye-sore.
-The $45 HD cable is a rip-off and messy: these should have been
some extra plugs at the back of the box.
-Supports only one user at a time.
-No learning capability for the IR-codes of unknown devices. My
misty sattelite box is not in the list, and it looks like I'm stuck
I really liked the idea of the slingbox. I travel, and I have a pocketPC phone, so the idea of being able to access my TIVO from an airport using Cingular's 3G network, or from a hotel room using my laptop was very appealing. It works great! Here are some tips and other information you might find useful:
1. Slingmedia's support is terrific. I found the process of the initial set up very confusing, as the instructions and setup wizard could not modify my DSL router. I tried to do it manually, following the directions, but the screenshots provided in the setup wizard didn't match my router's homepage. Anyway, I went to slingmedia's website and found the technical support option and clicked the "chat" option. Within a few minutes, the technician took over my computer and remotely set up my router to work correctly. Since then, it has been very easy to add devices to receive the Sling signal.
2. To watch on a laptop, you have to be able to download software to your laptop: if you are using a company laptop, for example, you need administrative rights to install.
3. Write down your Slingbox's password.
4. Slingbox apparently takes a lot of resources on your computer. Trying to surf the internet while watching a program really slows down your internet connection - lots of timeouts on pages.
5. Before you buy, scope out your location. The slingbox needs to be near your AV equipment, as well as near your router. (You have to have a wired router -- slingbox doesn't support wireless -- and not just a cable modem or DSL modem. You have to have a highspeed modem, AND a router. I have a DSL modem that has a wireless and wired router built in, a Westell DSL modem from AT&T). Slingmedia sells some extra equipment to allow hook ups where your router is in a different room, but I have no experience with that. Also, the computer requirements are pretty high - 1 gig processor minimum. I don't quite get this last part. Sling works well with my cell phone/pocket PC so I don't know why they set the minimum requirements so high.
6. The program to make you pocketPC work costs about $30 and can be downloaded from the slingmedia website. This is, of course, in addition to the cost of the Slingbox.
7. Once you own it, you own it. No monthly fees. Just the normal cable or satellite/tivo charges.
If you travel with a laptop or with a pocketPC (a palm version is in beta testing, from what I understand) you will be happy with the purchase.