Any tech savvy consumer knows there's only one name that comes to mind when it comes to taking your home television on the road with you: Slingbox. And while the product has improved over the years, many felt let down by the last generation. But those days are numbered. Coming up after the jump, we have a review of the fantastic Slingbox Pro-HD!
There really aren't too many choices out there for watching TV via the Internet when you're out on the road. That's where the Slingbox comes in. You connect the device by a very easy to use online application to the same network your laptop's on and after only a few minutes, you'll be able to watch TV over your Internet connection no matter where you are. There are a few problems with this software though. Sometimes it will randomly crash during setup which is the only delay. For example, if the power cord falls out of the Slingbox unexpectedly, the software won't recognize it. It will just say there was a problem. It took me ten minutes to realize that the Slingbox was unplugged due to the confusing nature of this software.
But once you figure that out, you're ready to go. While it's not as easy as a plug and play device as the Slingbox is too complicated to be that simple, just a few settings anybody can figure out are all you need. It's basically just plugging cables into your cable box. That's it. Then the television begins.
You can watch every channel that's on your home cable package whether it's the Food Network, NBC or the Arabic Channel. The Slingbox doesn't discriminate. The same interface that's shown on your TV at home is shown on the software application. This is because the two of them are connected for all intents and purposes. You can't watch two different channels. Whatever channel you tune into on your Slingbox is the one that will show up on your TV and vice versa. But that's usually no problem since if you're using the Slingbox, you're probably out on the road and won't care what's on the TV in your house.
This is designed to be able to watch TV no matter where you are as long as you're connected to the Internet. You only have to be connected to the same network for the initial setup so the software can locate the Slingbox. After that, you can watch it via any connection through your account on the Slingbox website. It's a very handy device if you're out on the road a lot. I know for a fact that many TV critics who are forced to travel to different press events will perform their reviews by watching their home feeds via Slingbox. This isn't just some kind of tech toy; it's for professionals as well.
This edition, the Pro-HD, while not providing 1080p quality visuals, still provides upgraded versions of what you would see with older versions. It's by no means fantastic but it's far better than anything you'd get with any of the lower models. Even plugged into an HD PVR like I have it, you aren't going to get HD quality visuals. They're high definition when compared to normal Slingboxes but it's more of a buzzword like HD definition sunglasses. It's still fantastic, just know what you're paying for once you go in since this thing isn't cheap, checking in at around $300.
But it's still an amazing product. You can watch TV via Internet connection no matter where you are and view your TV just as you were if you were at home. There's virtually no other brand out there for this kind of application. There may be some competitors but this brand has become synonymous with Web TV and this is their best model. It's even improved in terms of design as it no longer looks like a Hershey bar. It's a solid bar a la gold. It's sleek and just looks cool.
The whole thing is just cool though. There's an iPhone app as well. While there are cable apps from companies like Time Warner in the iPad 2, they're just trying to catch up to the Slingbox. And they might never do that. If you want Web TV, this is your product.