Podcast Episode 25 – Slingbox
I’m Bily Foster and I’m that iPad guy
Called that because I’ve almost always got iPad with me, and in some cases two!
Today we’re talking about Slingbox!
After my miserable fiasco with the simple.tv and it’s issues I’ve gone back to getting the cable provider DVR, however that only solves half of the problem I was looking to resolve with the simple.tv. I still can not remotely access my cable and more importantly for me, my news feeds so I turn to Slingbox as the solution.
I’ve been a big fan of Slingbox since they had their standard TV place shifting box back in mid 2000s. My original boxes have since died but I still had the app and thought it was time that I checked out the new HD versions.
Slingbox 500 – this is a quick summary of this unit. It’s the one with HDMI and WiFi built in, however at least with Cox cable in Phoenix, AZ the unit DOES NOT WORK with HDMI due to encryption. You can only either have your TV Signal go to the Slingbox or the TV the pass through feature does not work and you will be required to disconnect the HDMI cable from the TV for it to show up remotely.
A side from that it was easy to setup, but due to this limitation I took it back and switch out for the cheaper Slingbox 350 which is Composite Video only.
Slingbox 350 – after learning the disappointing news about the Slingbox 500, I was pleasantly surprised that the 350 was around $130 cheaper even though it took away the WiFi connection too. This wasn’t a big deal because I already had a network jack near the TV for a variety of other reasons, one of which was for the original Slingbox I had in place in the past.
I’d be lying if I said it was a perfect operation, but I will say it is a MUCH smoother and polished operation when it comes to setup, access and control than anything else I’ve tested in this category of device. In fact one of the BEST parts about Slingbox is how they have recreated remotes to display onscreen when you view via web or iPad so you get a nice familiar control surface to work with. On the iPhone the lack of screen real estate means they have to recreate the buttons functions in a swipe-able bar of controls which is easy enough to adapt to.
It’s great that the system works over cell, however my Sprint connection while unlimited gave me less than perfect results for remote viewing, however I was able to hear everything pretty clear once the connection stabilized. The video was very artifacty but I’ll chalk that up to the lack of bandwidth from Sprint. Once I was on WiFi the picture quickly cleared up and look HD or at least close to HD.
The Slingbox is one of those devices that once you set it up it just kind of sits there and does it’s job, there aren’t much configuration changes or tweaking that needs to be done after the initial settings are put in place. Everything else happens in the Slingbox website and Slingplayer Apps.
Keep this in mind while evaluating this investment. While you do not have monthly fees, you do have the added cost of purchasing the viewing app for your mobile device(s).
This is one thing that is annoying, you have to buy a license for each platform. So while I have the iPhone/iPod Touches, iPads, Kindle Fire, and Android Tablets, you have to purchase a separate license for each platform. And each one runs about $30 (right now there is a sale for the holidays and the apps are only $15). Yes, I could go cheap and use the iPhone version on the iPad however you aren’t going to get the full remote and resolution that you do on the iPad. Of course once you own a copy for your platform you can load it on all of your devices.
One of the coolest features on the iPad version of the app is the Guide. I’m sure you’re thinking “What? Why would the guide be cool?” Because instead of using the DVR Guide on screen and shrinking your video or taking it away completely, Sling goes the extra step and gives you it’s own guide that lays over the video.
You can scroll through the guide find the program you want and tap the title to tune in. It’s such a nice feature that when we can’t find the remote we just pull up the Slingbox app on our iPads and control the system through there. Like the iPad is a big fancy remote.
Now it’s not perfect and even in the house there is about a 2 to 3 second delay for processing, but if you turn down the audio on the iPad it’s not as annoying while you control the system. Unlike the Simple.TV’s 5 remote viewers at a time you can only have 1 remote connection at a time.
All in all the Slingbox system works great, now instead of having a second cable box in the home office I can now use Slingbox to bring the programming and features of the cable DVR in there without the additional expense of a 2nd box. I can’t wait to give it a test run on our next trip out of town.
Slingbox has two models out currently the 350 (component only) and the 500 (component, HDMI, with WiFi access) just be sure to check if it will work with your system via HDMI.
That Wraps up another this episode of that iPad guy. Again thanks for watching and be sure to like me on Facebook, follow me on twitter, or Circle me on Google Plus and visit “That iPad Guy . Com ” to subscribe!
See ya next time!