Feeds
85%

Slingbox Solo TV-over-the-net device

Slingbox pared back to basics

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Solo's set-up process is straightforward - install the SlingPlayer software and, by and large, you're away. Sling has certainly improved the process, hiding more the networking stuff away, but it could do more to smooth it for the less technically adept. We forgot to open up the relevant part of our laptop's firewall, preventing SlingPlayer from spotting the Solo. The app could have suggested directly that we check this - we eventually found the solution in the Help file. It's a common enough mistake, after all.

Slingbox Solo
Sling's Slingbox Solo: select which of the three inputs you'll use

The Solo's internal workings are more advanced than those of the original Slingbox. The new model can process and send out images at up to 640 x 480 resolution, so it's just below the UK's PAL 720 x 576 picture size, but a little more computer-friendly, and certainly not, of itself, HD. However, the Solo is able to recognise 16:9 widescreen signals and format the image size accordingly. It's also able to transmit at up to 8Mbps - up from the old model's 2.5Mbps limit - though what you actually receive will depend on the bandwidth of the narrowest part of the network over which the Solo is transmitting.

Slingbox Solo
Sling's Slingbox Solo: good viewing full-screen on a 15.4in laptop display
Click for full-size version

Our powerline adaptors run to a raw speed maximum data rate of 85Mbps, which translates as a real-world throughput of 20-25Mbps - still more than enough space for the Solo's maximum output:

Slingbox Solo
Sling's Slingbox Solo: decent picture quality over the local network...

We got a throughput of up to 5700Kbps going via powerline from Solo to router and then over 802.11g Wi-Fi from the router to the laptop. That's enough to yield a very watchable widescreen picture on the MacBook Pro's 1440 x 900 display. Of course it's not HD - and not even SD really - but it is perfectly good to watch, particularly if you don't sit nose to screen.

Out and about, the results were less impressive. We left our abode and used a Novatel Wireless Merlin XU870 ExpressCard HSDPA add-in to connect back to base over Vodafone's 'super 3G' network. We got bitrates of up to 650Kbps, well short of the local network speed and with a consequent reduction in picture quality:

Slingbox Solo
...but not quite so clear via 3G

That said, it was no worse than a lot of content on YouTube, and while you might not want to put your feet up and watch the latest episode of whatever US drama series is hip this month, it's not so bad for keeping tabs on the news though a small window in the corner of your screen. And with a device that has a smaller display - a Nokia N95, say - where Sling's technology can trade pictures size for lower compression within the same bandwidth, it will be more watchable.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.