So the good people from SlingMedia sent over the SlingBox Solo for us to review. We did some UnBoxing shots here, but now it is time to get down to business and let you know what we think of the SlingBox. We must first say that we think the SlingBox is great in concept. The SlingBox depending on your model (Solo, ProHD) let’s you connect your Cable box, DVD player, or other media device to the SlingBox and then shift that feed to another laptop or mobile phone elsewhere. Example, I connect the SlingBox to my Cable box, it’s Monday night and Heroes is coming on but I’m running late from work. With the Slingbox I can connect to my TV and watch the show on my Blackberry Bold as I’m on the way (provided I have a cell signal). The show will be streamed to my from my TV to my Slingbox to my phone. Or if I’m at the office and don’t want to catch a day or so later via Hulu.com I can open up the SlingPlayer on my work machine or laptop and watch from there, fantastic!
So since we want to give you a real world experience, I’ll start from set up. As stated I was sent the Slingbox Solo. After unboxing, connecting everything was pretty easy. The one thing I didn’t like was the fact that though the box said it was HD compatible, it was only through component. Now I’m pretty tech forward, so my entire set up is mainly run through HDMI, so that meant I had to scramble to find some component cables in my house. Once I did this, I now had to run my cable through component instead of HDMI for me to watch it on the TV and through the Slingbox.
Once everything was connected I loaded up the software and Set up Assistant on my computer. Everything work perfect until we got to the testing the connection for remote internet viewing. Remote Internet Viewing is what a lot the Slingbox to stream the feed to a computer outside of the home as well as mobile phone, so without this, it is dead in the water and this is where I had trouble. I started the whole set up process at maybe 11pm one night and actually stay up until 6am the next morning trying to get this to work. I tried and retried to no success, I Googled my hear out, found many kinds of directions and followed all of them to no avail! I gave up that morning as I needed to sleep for an hour and then back up again to head to work. Content that I did everything I was suppose to to, I spoke with technical support at SlingMedia and they was VERY helpful. It turns out that I did everything I was suppose to do, but my Ooma box acted as a gateway too that needed to be configured for the Slingbox. Once we figured this out, I was able to get it up and going. A caution to those who may have a VOIP provider to make sure if you have anything connect that is in between the Cable/DSL modem and your router that it isn’t acting as a gateway as well.
The Slingbox experience is great, watching it from a desktop or a laptop was wonderful, had no issue with it. As you can see from the picture above, you have the player where you can watch TV and along side it the remote. The remote isn’t always present, it hides unless you want to show it for use. the player format is very simple and cruising through different area of the player was easy!
The downside I would have to say about the Slingbox and this doesn’t so much reflect on the product itself, is that it can only stream to one person at a time. Also you pretty much will be fighting over control of the TV if you have anyone home lol. Again this isn’t the fault of Slingbox per say, but something we wish it had or add in the future. When it comes to streaming to more than one at a time, it is whoever comes first. So say me and the misses are both out of the house with our laptops and want to watch TV, if she beats me to the punch, I won’t be able to watch. Now I can always kick her off with the administrator password, but then of course I’m going to get yelled at later lol. Then there is the example of if I’m in the office and connect, I’m greeted with the Wonder Pets TV show as they is what my daughter is currently watching in the living room lol. Now of course there are ways around this, but it does take more planning and more equipment.
MOBILE PHONE VIEWING
Won’t get into this too much as there will be a article about this on it’s own, but one word: AWESOME!
To wrap this up, I have been a fan of the Slingbox since they first came out and have craved one for what seems like forever. Did it let me down once I had it? Not at all, it wasn’t the end all, be all, I thought it was going to be but I love this thing regardless! The Solo is retailing for $179.99 on their site, but I know I’ve seen it in a Best Buy for maybe $149.99. It is absolutely worth it and a joy to use. Set up was a little rough, though my experience may be different than yours. If you have a Ooma device take heed to what I said above, as this will save you hours of troubleshooting. for more information check out www.slingmedia.com