Own the box, not the service
It's the sense that I can do nothing with my purchase without the online intervention of the supplier that irks me - especially when the box doesn't involve the provision of online content. It's a bridge between my network and my set-top boxes. All this should work straight out of the box.
Still a TV streamer at heart
Worse, it doesn't work well. The browser viewer pops up a rudimentary channel changing remote, but it's well laggy. Click a button and the remote's virtual display doesn't update until the channel actually changes. So you don't know whether it's accepted your input or not. And there's no EPG, or any programme infor - or even a channel ident beyond its Freeview number.
As I say, among the set-tops I tested the Slingbox with was the original Apple TV. The virtual remote changes to match the look of Apple's real one, but clicking on many of the buttons had no effect. Sling supplies four infra red transmitters so the Slingbox can control your devices. I tried the lot, but no joy. That doesn't inspire confidence in the Pro HD's ability to handle other, less well-known boxes.
The original Slingbox was created to allow its inventor to watch has favourite TV shows while he was travelling. The Pro-HD still lets you do that, but without Freeview HD the new box is no better to use than the £50 cheaper Pro, though at least all the ports are built in. Yes, you can feed it from HD boxes, and that's handy - so long as no one at home wants to use one while you're away, so long as you lack an HD download service or a stack of files on your Nas box, and so long as you don't mind viewing sub-HD pictures. Sling, this box could have been so much better. ®
More Network Tuner Reviews
Sling Media Slingbox Pro-HD network TV tuner
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
Does typical asynchronous UK broadband support UPLOADING HD video at real-time speed? Unless I misunderstood the idea of SlingBox is to upload through your home broadband, through SB's servers, so you can view it remotely... is the internet infrastructure really up to it especially with upload speeds being slower, fair-usage policies, etc?
I'd be interested in a review of one of these if you get the chance..