Truly HD? Really, truly HD?
Ports being equal then, and just as equally devoid of Freeview HD, what does the Pro-HD do that the Pro didn't? Stream in HD.
The virtual TV remote is basic, uninformative and very laggy
Well, if you can all it that. Component-video output from my first-gen Apple TV, set to 720p, streamed through a 200Mb/s powerline Ethernet to my router then out to a laptop connected by 802.11n, but the browser-based viewer only registered a video rate of 8Mb/s.
Sling's own spec sheets says "3Mb/s and up" but either way it's not what you'd expect for an HD stream. Maybe 18Mb/s - which both HomePlug AV and 802.11n can support - but not 8Mb/s. That suggests so much compression that while the picture resolution may be 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080, a lot of the detail has been compressed out of it.
Set-up is performed over the net, not locally
Indeed, while the picture in the browser was entirely watchable, it didn't look particularly HD.
Whatever the quality, the picture has to be viewed in a browser - and in a 32-bit browser, at that, at least on a Mac. That's not so bad, but Sling forces you to create an account with the company before you can use the box.
Some other remotes don't work as well as they should
Presumably that's to save the user from having to enter an IP address, which can be tricky for non-techies, especially if it's a dynamic one. But, really, why should I have to set up an account and then set up a separate password just to access the box I've paid 250 notes for? And why not supply a simple Java IP address look-up utility like Nas makers do? Or do admin through an on-device web server? I'd trade all these happily if I got free mobile access in return, but no, I still have to cough up 18 quid for the iOS, Windows Phone 7 or Android viewer.
Next page: Own the box, not the service
Stress the £18!
I just bought one of these and am hugely disappointed. The biggest failures are a) no HDMI (what year is this?!), b) No FREEVIEW HD! And c) The viewer app for iPhone is LUDICROUSLY expensive.
Honestly, this device stinks of stifled innovation and design-by-committee. The price of the iPhone app is unforgivable though. Impossible to justify, a matter of seconds to fix. Crap.
I'm probably returning mine to amazon purely on the strength that I never expected to pay more £ to use this device for the intended purpose.
Slingmedia joins my list of "professionally suicidal" companies.
Owned by EchoStar
Incisive review. Slingboxes are set-top boxes, with all that implies: primarily designed around the aspirations of broadcasters and content providers, not the punter. The company is owned by set-top box manufacturer EchoStar -- check them out.
I smelt a rat back in 2006, when I discovered that Sling Media had begun encrypting the data the Slingbox streams across your network. Up to then a third party had been providing software that enabled Slingbox users to record the stream to a hard drive -- a function notably missing from the official Slingbox client software.
I argued the point with Brian Jaquet, at the time their head of PR worldwide. It was evident to me that the encryption had been introduced to shake off the third party recording feature -- probably so SlingMedia could sell its own recording solution. But his response astonished me.
The reason for no recording, and for defeating third party recording, Jaquet told me, was to preserve the rights of the content providers, and to ensure that only one client was able to watch a stream at any one time. I pointed out that the Slingbox was taking unencrypted input receivable by anybody with a digital TV tuner and funnelling it into a proprietary encrypted stream for single viewing, and that this was completely inappropriate for a Freeview broadcast. Jaquet was adamant that the content was sacrosanct and told me categorically that here in the UK a household would require a separate licence for each TV set it owned, a fee structure it would be illegal for Slingmedia to disrupt with its technology.
I pointed out that his premise was incorrect -- here in the UK a single TV licence covers an entire household, and in point of law the reception of a Slingbox stream on a remote Internet connected laptop would also be covered by that same licence as long as the laptop were not plugged into the mains at the time (bizarre, but true -- I'd recently researched this, although it may be different now). Jaquet insisted that I was wrong, and the conversation terminated shortly afterwards.
Slingbox? The name tells you what to do with it. :-)
needs an account?
need an account so your client can reach the box? huh? Does that mean you have to be on
an internet connected network and cant just use the device around the house?
what if I can only get to my network via VPN?
lack of Freeview HD = fail
lack of HDMI = fail
lack of free App for kit you've just bought = fail
lack of 'just plug in and work, no need to register with big brother' = fail