Feeds
85%

Slingbox Solo TV-over-the-net device

Slingbox pared back to basics

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Solo comes with an infrared transmitter through which the Slingbox controls the video source. We found that no matter how we adjusted this - there are three settings: Fast, Medium and Slow - every button press we made in SlingPlayer, such as moving up and down the channel list or choosing menus - was treated as two presses by the Humax. This doesn't happen with the DVR's own remote, suggesting the Sling unit is to blame. Indeed, this wasn't something we experienced with the original Slingbox.

Slingbox Solo
Sling's Slingbox Solo: vast range of UK video hardware supported

At least we could get around the problem to some extent by storing our favourite channels on SlingPlayer's customisable channel panel, but it meant that we couldn't select every channel in the DVR's electronic programme guide, preventing us from scheduling recordings remotely.

And while we were pleased to find the Humax among the many, many set-top boxes, DVD players and other picture sources listed in the SlingPlayer set-up screens, the remote didn't provide the same or equivalent keys to the Humax remote - even basic ones like getting the list of recorded programmes. Of course, Sling can't produce a virtual remote that matches the look of every single real remote out there, but if it's gone to the trouble of supporting as many devices as it has, it could at least have ensured that the virtual remote's five custom buttons could generate useful signals.

You still get a couple of seconds of video judder when you push one of the remote's buttons, a fault Sling really should have licked by now, especially given the bandwidth available to the SlingPlayer-to-Solo link. This wouldn't be a concern if you were connecting using a mobile phone, but it's not something you ought to experience when Slingbox and computer are on the same, local network.

Finally, there's the Solo's lack of tuner. Without one, the Solo is limited in its applicability to households not only with an existing tuner, but also where the residents are in total accord about what they want to watch. With, say, a Slingbox Pro, we could watch documentaries on BBC Four while the missus caught up with the latest episode of House. She watched the signal from the set-top box; we watched the signal from the Slingbox.

Slingbox Solo
Sling's Slingbox Solo: eminently watchable

With no tuner, that's impossible with the Solo, and flipping channels while your other half is watching something is not a recipe for domestic bliss. This won't be an issue for someone with a TV that has an integrated digital TV tuner, of course, but it is a problem for the many of us who don't.

Still, the Solo does deliver content over the network in an eminently watchable form, and we quickly put it to use streaming late-night TV to a laptop in the bedroom, and we can see it being an ideal way of keeping up with what's happening in the UK the next time we're away on holiday, provided the apartment has broadband, of course.

Verdict

Sling Media's Slingbox Solo lacks the range of roles you can put its bigger, better sibling - the Slingbox Pro - to, and that limits its usefulness to many consumers. But if you just want to stream a single source around your home, to a laptop in a holiday home, or to a 3G mobile phone, it does the trick. Just make sure your other half isn't watching at the same time, or you'll be introduced to a new theatre in the war for the remote.

Website security in corporate America

85%

Slingbox Solo TV-over-the-net device

A tuner-less Slingbox for folk who already have a set-top box...
Price: £130 / $180 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate
Belay that toil, me hearty, and park your scurvy backside
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.