Each new generation of the Slingbox, since 2008, gets a little bit better in terms of features. This time around, the lower-end model, the Slingbox 350, picked up 1080p quality and a slick hardware redesign. It can help you get more out of your TV package—but will it be worth it, when it finally goes on sale here in the UK?
A Slingbox, then and now, streams TV from a box to your laptop, iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Those gadgets can then control the cable box through an app called Slingplayer.
People who pay for cable and want to max out the TV access by slinging content onto mobile devices.
A small, discreet black box that looks a little bit like a Jawbone Jambox.
Connect it to the cable box's video and audio outputs, hook up the ethernet, and plug it into a power source.
Watching the morning news over 4G on the ride in to work.
When you stream 1080p wirelessly, you're getting compressed 1080p—it's not like Blu-Ray quality. And you need a good 5 or so Mbps of free bandwidth to even have a chance of it running smoothly. But that's a problem with other Slingboxes, Apple TV, and any device like this.
The mobile app costs £10.50. It used to cost more. But still, once you've spent a few hundred on the box, you'd think the app would be part of the deal.
- I set it up with my Samsung TV.
- When you change channels, the stream tends to freeze up.
- If you are capable of setting up a DVD player, you can get the Slingbox up and running.
- Used the SlingPlayer on iPhone 5, Samsung TV, and 2010 MacBook. Fantastic picture quality.
The 350 is a good product, and the premise of a Slingbox is really enjoyable. You pay a lot for your TV package; you have a great screen on a new tablet, and you want to watch some TV on that thing. So if you're considering signing on, go for it. It looks great.
But if you're already a Slingbox user, there's not much of a compelling reason to upgrade. This particular model of Slingbox hasn't been improved on much, aside from a fresh design and the addition of 1080p video—and wireless streaming doesn't really have the bandwidth for you to even see that.
• Price: $180 in the US; UK price hasn't been confirmed yet.
• Color: Black
• Dimensions: 7" x 7" x 1.5"
• Weight: 10.4 ounces
• Material: Plastic
• Ports: IR, USB, ethernet, audio in/out video in/out
• Gizrank: 3.0 stars
Photos by Michael Hession