|Sling Media Slingbox|
|Summary||Streams any video content over a LAN or Internet to a Windows XP PC.|
|Pros||• Allows remote viewing and control of any video source
• Supports control of many different video input devices and sources
|Cons||• Currently only supports Windows XP and 2000
• Can be tricky to setup in some environments
When Personal Video Recorders became popular a few years back, consumers learned that they could watch TV on their own schedule. "Time Shifting" - first popularized by TiVo - had always been possible with VCRs, but PVRs made it dead-simple to automatically record a large number programs for later viewing.
Now there's another company trying to once again change our TV viewing habits. What if you could subscribe to satellite or cable TV at home, and then watch it anywhere you had an high-speed Internet connection, be it at school, work, or even vacationing half way around the world? And even better, what if, you could do this with no monthly fees to pay? That's the promise of a company called Sling Media, which has coined "Place Shifting" to describe what its new Slingbox does.
When I first looked at the device, I noticed its shape and color was reminiscent of a silver bullion bar. The Slingbox is around 10 inches long, 4 inches wide and 2 inches tall, with a fairly plain front adorned only with power, and network connectivity LEDs and a pattern of red LEDs indicating client connectivity.
In contrast to the front, the back (Figure 1) is chock-full of connectors for both input and output ports that should handle most standard-definition television needs. There are connectors for S-Video, composite video and coaxial video, as well as composite audio.
Figure 1: Back panel showing connectors
In addition to the A/V connectors, there are 10/100 Ethernet , power and infrared extender cable connectors. The infrared extender is used to send IR commands to your chosen video input component, with one end of the extender plugging into the Slingbox and the other end placed near the IR window of the video input component you need to control.