When we first reviewed Sling Media's Slingbox the technology seemed groundbreaking. It's a ‘place-shift' enabling set-top box that lets you access anything playing in your living room over a broadband.

But the emergence in the past year of large numbers of IPTV deals mean there are now far more ways of viewing television content.

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However, that hasn't stopped Sling Media from increasing the uses for its technology, and you can now use the box to enjoy TV on a mobile phone. You still need a Slingbox plugged into your TV, Freeview box, personal DVD recorder or satellite receiver, along with a wired or wireless home network and a compatible mobile handset.

Having set up the hardware, you can install free software to your Symbian 9.1 mobile phone - the Nokia N73 we used for testing here is the first pure phone to support it, although Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphones and PDAs offer a similar functionality.

The Slingbox itself has a built-in Freeview tuner, while the 3 mobile phone network offers flat rate mobile internet access on its X Series Gold subscription for £45 a month, with the Slingbox hardware discounted from £180 to £99.

To get the SlingPlayer on your phone, press the 3 services button and download it from the 3 site. Once installed, enter your Slingbox's IP address. The resulting broadcasts depend on your home setup, but since UK Slingboxes have built-in Freeview, you get these channels as well as standard terrestrial ones.

The upstream of your home broadband connection is as critical as anything to determining how well TV-over-broadband works. However, the compression software seems to compensate well for fluctuations in bandwidth and we found watching TV on a handset quite mesmeric.

Sling Media SlingPlayer Mobile: Specs

  • TV streaming box with DVB-T free-to-air digital TV tuner
  • 2x RCA composite cable
  • S-Video and aerial cables
  • Scart to RCA adaptor
  • infrared remote control cable
  • AC adaptor
  • requires Vista/XP/2000 and a compatible Symbian mobile phone
  • TV streaming box with DVB-T free-to-air digital TV tuner
  • 2x RCA composite cable
  • S-Video and aerial cables
  • Scart to RCA adaptor
  • infrared remote control cable
  • AC adaptor
  • requires Vista/XP/2000 and a compatible Symbian mobile phone

OUR VERDICT

We can't say this is a service for which we anticipate massive demand, but if you want to access TV from wherever you are it's a very neat way of doing so.

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