What would it be like if you could watch your favorite television or video programming locked away on your cable box, DVD player or Tivo at home? Sling Media, already successful with its first generation “placeshifting” Slingbox, is back at it again with the recent introduction of their second generation of Slingbox products geared for different levels of home user enjoyment.
For those unfamiliar with Sling Media, this company focuses on developing products and services which let consumers placeshift, or remotely transfer/view, their home video content to a remote viewing platform such as a laptop PC or cell phone using a combination of special software and in-house streaming technology. Since unveiling their first Slingbox in mid-2005, Sling Media has moved to expand their product family with three new entries – the basic Slingbox Tuner, the mid-level Slingbox AV and the high-end Slingbox Pro.
The Slingbox family
The Slingbox Tuner is geared towards those who wish to watch their basic cable programming on a PC or mobile device. The Tuner works by connecting your cable TV connection into the back of the Tuner Sligbox. Another cable runs from the back of the Tuner to your home network router, which you can in turn access from a high-speed internet connection anywhere in the world. The Tuner lets you control the channels you are watching and comes with a splitter in case you are sharing your cable outlet with a television or cable modem.
The front of the Slingbox Tuner
The back of the Tuner
One step up the Slingbox family tree from the Tuner is the Slingbox AV. This model is more geared towards those who have existing set top boxes such as digital video recorders, digital cable boxes and satellite receivers. The Slingbox AV connects directly to one of these boxes as well as a home network router and acts as a virtual remote to the box, allowing you to remotely control every function as if you are right in front of it. Features such as changing channels, setting a program to record on the digital video recorder and ordering pay-per-view movies are just a few of the functions which can be done.
Sitting at the top of the Slingbox line is the Slingbox Pro. This unit allows those who have a home theater setup to connect and control up to four devices, including one high definition video source (up to 1080i) when the Slingbox is used with an optional HD cable. Like the Slingbox AV, the Slingbox Pro can connect to a variety of home entertainment gear including digital cable, DVRs, DVD players and more. As with the other Slingbox, a broadband connection is required as is installation of Sling Media’s SlingPlayer software on PCs and mobile phones.
The front of the Slingbox Pro
The back of the Slingbox Pro
The Slingbox AV and Slingbox Tuner carry a $179.99 price tag and the Slingbox Pro will retail for $249.99. Sling Media’s optional HD cable component known as the HD Connect is priced at $49.99. More information on all of these devices can be found at Sling Media’s Web site.
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