Slingbox Goes Pro

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Sling Media has introduced three new editions of its Slingbox place-shifting device, which enables users to tune into television and video assets they have at home from anywhere they can get high-speed Internet access, and with them introduces new high-end features which may appeal to serious film and video hounds.

The idea behind the Slingbox is that it takes output from a user’s television, cable box, Media Center PC, or other video source, and transfers it to the user via broadband Internet to wherever they may be. Users can thereby watch their home television channels from anywhere in the world—or pull up their favorite movies, home video, recorded programming, and more.

At the top end of the line is the new Slingbox Pro, which, although it does not offer HDMI input, can now handle high-definition television input via a standalone HD Connect dongle which can handle video up to 1080i resolution via component (and stereo audio) inputs. But don’t let the HD capability mislead you: bandwidth constraints make it unrealistic to stream HD video over the Internet, so video is downsampled to standard definition before being transferred, although users can set the amount of compression applied to their video feeds. However, the Slingbox Pro does enable users to control up to four video sources remotely, including digital cameras and DVD players. The Slingbox Pro also supports 16:9 widescreen, pass-through connections, and remote control of A/V devices. The Slingbox Pro is available now for $249.49; the HD Connect dongle is an additional $49.99.

The new Slingbox AV is designed for everyday television users with a typical set-top box setup: the Slingbox AV enables users to controol and watch their set-top box from a PC, Mac, or Windows Mobile device, and control compression settings. Finally, the Slingbox Tuner, however, is designed to function as a standalone unit, and includes a built-in 70-channel analog TV tuner enabling remote users to tune into basic cable or broadcast TV, without interfering with other home users who may be watching the same service. Both the Slingbox AV and Slingbox tuner are priced at $179.99.

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