Slingbox

I’ve been seeing great reviews of Slingbox since it came out in the summer. It recently appeared in Time magazine’s best inventions of 2005 issue. And I love how the idea for Slingbox came from Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian’s frustration about not being able to watch San Francisco Giants games while he was on the road. Funny how so many good ideas are born out of frustration.

This weekend I finally broke down and bought one and I have to say, this is a very, very cool product. As soon as you start to use it, you wonder how you were able to get by without it. If you have any need for accessing your TiVo or cable system from anywhere (from work, from a hotel, from the airport, from a different room in your house, etc.), then you need to go out and get this product. The set-up is quick, it’s not too expensive, and there is no monthly service fee. Below is a screenshot showing the TiVo remote and the screen. All of the TiVo remote functions are available – you can watch recorded shows, watch live TV, record new shows, you can even do the hidden TiVo 30-second commercial skip feature.

12/17/05 Update:
My Slingbox image on Flickr was recently linked from one of my favorite sites – PVRBlog.

slingbox

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4 Comments

Filed under Gadgets, Technology

4 responses to “Slingbox

  1. Whoa, Why have I not heard of this, I’m definitely going to check this out. Nice!

  2. Hey Mike

    It’s YC from the Technocrat Soapbox.

    I was wondering how the Slingbox would work with a home-brewed DVR, which is what I have.

    Any ideas?

  3. Y.C.,
    You might run into issues with the remote control functions. The Slingbox comes with an IR emitter (see
    http://www.slingmedia.com/support/ for a typical set-up). You run that from the Slingbox to your DVR, making sure to point the emitter outputs to the remote control sensor on your DVR. In the Slingbox config there is a step to select your DVR manufacturer and then select from a list of available IR codes for that manufacturer. I’m not sure if home grown DVR’s would be supported. If this thing is not set up properly you will be unable to change the channels, go to your pre-recorded shows, set up new recordings, etc. In fact, I had a case where my wife and I were on a short trip and the remote functions stopped working when we tried to use the Slingbox. Turns out our maid was dusting our media cabinet and knocked the IR emitter!

    There is a pretty active forum on
    http://www.slingcommunity.com/. You might want to check that out.

  4. Mike

    Aww man…I really don’t like those IR emitters. There is usually a lag time between the button press and the TV response.

    I’m currently using a DELL Dimension 4550 (P4 2.4GHz with 1GB of RAM) as my DVR. I’m using the Hauppauge 550-MCE as my TV Tuner Card and Windows XP MCE as my OS (which comes with an IR Receiver, 2 IR Emitters, and a Remote Control).

    When I had satellite service (from DishNetwork), getting the set-top-box to talk to my DVR was an exercise in patience, thus, the current fear of using IR emitters.

    I’m using cable now. The Coaxial Cable goes directly into my DVR. So, no problem there.

    Now, how to solve the Slingbox problem (a rhetorical question)?

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