Coming up this week at vowe's magic flying circus: Slingbox Solo

by Volker Weber


The Slingbox is coming to the German market, so the company is sending me a device to try out. The basic concept is simple: it connects to your TV source, for instance a sat receiver via component video, S-video or composite video and controls the device over infrared. It relays whatever input it gets over Ethernet to your software player, on a PC, a Mac, or mobile phones. It supports BlackBerry, Symbian with S60 or UIQ, Palm OS, Windows Mobile and the iPhone. The idea is that you can use your paid for channels while away from your home.


I will of course tell you how it goes, but so far I can already see a few limitations: you have to have a separate receiver from your TV, because it does not have its own. The Solo can only connect to one input. There is another somewhat larger version with more inputs and its own DVB-T receiver. I wish it were DVB-S though. And finally, no HDMI, the connection of choice for HD TV.

Update: Setup with a Kathrein sat receiver would not work. I had video and audio, but no control. Then I switched to a TechniSat Digipal 2 and that did indeed work. Trying different clients now. Symbian client on Nokia N97 does not work, BlackBerry client on Bold does. Mac client works, have not tried Windows. Tomorrow I shall have two iPhones (3G and 3GS) to test. The original iPhone does not seem to be good enough, at least not according to the vendor.

This is a a weird digital-analog-digital bridge. You take a digital TV signal, decode it to composite or component video, capture it with the Slingbox and then distribute it again over a digital channel.


Here is a use case I like: remote the TV to your office, so you can watch a video at the side.


i use the pro version with slingcatcher its a very nice nice so you dont have to use a computer to view it on.

Flemming Riis, 2009-09-07

You are travelling with a Slingcatcher?

Volker Weber, 2009-09-07

-You are travelling with a Slingcatcher?

Nope have a place in france we we are alot so use it from there instead of the software client

Flemming Riis, 2009-09-07

Understood, Flemming.

For now the Slingbox does not solve any problem for me, I could not solve otherwise much easier. I am funneling DVB-T over an analog signal into the Slingbox. I might as well just attach an antenna to the TubeStick. TV on a mobile is a cool idea, but a somewhat lacking solution.

Volker Weber, 2009-09-07

It might be useful if you are travelling a lot outside of your home country and want to watch local/domestic TV. Connect it to your PVR and you can also watch recordings.

Sony had a similar product called "location free" some years ago but obviously no big success - they relied on a proprietary Windows software.

Another use case: If you are interested in TV of a foreign country where you can install the slingbox with a tuner then you can access all channels from home.

But none of them is interesting for me - therefore I do not own one. And yes: There are solutions for PVRs with converting and direct streaming for free.

Bernd Schuster, 2009-09-07

I tried to connect it to my DVB-S recorder, but it would not recognize the IR emitter. That would have been better than a simple DVB-T receiver. I do find it useful to stream video to any computer in the house.

Volker Weber, 2009-09-07

If only someone in the UK would order Sky Sat for me, and I watch that here... I am kind of sick watching series with one whole year of delay and quite a bad synchronisation that I do not want or need at all. A sat dish is mandatory for my next flat, cable is lacking too much if compared to - in Germany at least.

Alexander Koch, 2009-09-07

I've had my slingbox for a year or two now. I really like it. I'd call it "nearly perfect". I've watched in pretty good quality sitting in my car on an EVDO connection while waiting for soccer practices. I've watched in hotels in Germany, England, Disney and Vegas (all places where you can't get the American TV shows you want).

I've got an adapter to let me push to hotel tv's and so on as well, so I can even watch my "home" cable dvr in a hotel in Germany using the tv in the room while still working on the laptop.

The couple of things I wish:

1. A bit more control over the buffering. I wish the slingbox would buffer more on it's end, then send in faster than real time to catch up the player side when bandwidth was good. This would really help variable bandwidth situations.

2. I'm very disappointed they don't have a player for the storm yet. So many other blackberry devices are supported, but no storm. That's annoying as hell.

Andrew Pollack, 2009-09-07

Because you happen to have a Storm, right? :-)

Volker Weber, 2009-09-07

Well, yeah. Duh? If I didn't have a storm, I couldn't care less about that.

Andrew Pollack, 2009-09-07

-I am kind of sick watching series with one whole year of delay and quite a bad synchronisation

Apple TV with Itunes US Gifts Card does the trick

Flemming Riis, 2009-09-08

I've had my slingbox for almost 4 years. I have been very pleased with it, as have family members who have tuned into it from the UK to watch US shows.

I've been sat on a train with 15 strangers huddled around a mobile phone watching it stream a Sox Yankees games, I've caught up on episodes of Dexter waiting for delayed flights.

Since I got my first one, I've given other people Slings as Christmas presents, I've had one put in my brothers house so I can watch UK programs.

I've found the adaptive compression works really well as bandwidth changes.

There aren't many products I recommend without worry, but Slingbox is one of them. So far everybody I have give one to, or has bought one based upon my recommendation has been very happy.

Carl Tyler, 2009-09-09

I am very impressed by the SlingBox system.

I use one installed at my brother's house in Anaheim, CA and have no trouble watching hundreds of L.A. cable channels here in Munich.

The last time I was in the States, I also bought the SlingCatcher, which attaches to your TV and allows you to view everything without using a PC by using a well designed remote control.

Very good technology for someone that travels a lot and likes to watch their TV on the road.


Mitch Wolfson, 2009-09-10

I use the above mentioned Sony LocationFree system. While it's probably inferior to the Slingbox, AND proprietary to windows, AND demand client licensing, AND is no longer supported in Europe ... I'm very happy with it.

It gives me the option to locationshift to a place that has no, little or different TV options, and still have access to local news, sports, etc.

Another thing it gives me that hasn't been mentioned yet, is total remote control of my Sony DVR, making it possible for me to program the DVR remotely. That is very helpful.

I think the Sling is probably a better product overall, though, looking at the specs. But I haven't tried it yet. So far, I'm happy with my LocationFree.

Oh ... one more thing ... make sure you have decent upload bandwidth, as it influences quality a lot.

Lars Olufsen, 2009-09-14

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