We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Hardware Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Sony LocationFree

£200 to £230 including VAT

Manufacturer: Sony

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Just when you were getting your head around the distinctly sci-fi concept of timeshifting, some bright spark came up with the idea of placeshifting.

Just when you were getting your head around the distinctly sci-fi concept of timeshifting used by personal video recorders, some bright spark came up with the idea of placeshifting.

The concept is simple. Your TV is showing your favourite programme but you're not home to enjoy it – placeshifting enables you to watch it as it transmits or records it. You can be thousands of miles away but still apparently viewing your own TV screen. Whatever channels you have access to at home – Freeview, Sky+, plain old BBC and ITV – are all streamed over a broadband connection.

So far, then, the LocationFree seems almost identical to the Sling Media Slingbox. But while there is a slight air of 'me too' about Sony's launch, the LocationFree differs from the Slingbox in a couple of respects.

First, it's much smaller. This is a neater, more classically 'digital-home'-styled product than the Slingbox. The LocationFree has the benefit of a built-in Wi-Fi router, while another big pull is the fact that Sony's offering can be viewed on a PSP (PlayStation Portable), neatly tapping into the PSP's success and its practicality as a video-viewing platform. Slingbox isn't able to do this (yet), so points go to Sony on that front.

Unfortunately, the LocationFree limits you to a single playback device – your laptop or your PSP – while Sling Media's product lets you view media served up by your Slingbox on multiple devices, including PDAs.

We found setting up and using the two devices a similar experience. If you're tech-savvy enough to have Wi-Fi at home, you'll be fine. Both can cope with fluctuating bandwidth and offer viewable playback even at the lower broadband strata.

Sony LocationFree Expert Verdict »

Remote TV and video streaming device
built-in 802.11b/g wireless router
ethernet connection
component video and component audio ports
Scart-to-AV cable
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

If you've got a PSP and like the sleek styling of the Sony, you'll probably prefer LocationFree, despite its higher price tag. On balance, however, we felt the Slingbox's more open approach offered greater charms.

  • Sling Media Slingbox

    Sling Media Slingbox

    Have you ever had to endure an endless evening channel-hopping in some overseas hotel room, wishing you could be at home watching your own television?

  • Sling Media SlingPlayer Mobile

    Sling Media SlingPlayer Mobile

    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.

  • Slingbox Pro media-streaming device

    Slingbox Pro media-streaming device

    When the Slingbox first launched two years ago in the US, we could see its potential but expected the average consumer to be bemused by it.

  • Sling Media Slingbox Pro HD review

    Sling Media Slingbox Pro HD

    With the Slingbox Pro HD, Sling Media has created a version of its pioneering "place-shifting" device that lets you view high-definition video in high definition, remotely.

  • Slingbox Solo media-streaming device

    Slingbox Solo media-streaming device

    The Slingbox Solo is a bold little media-streaming device: its trapezoid design is refreshingly distinctive.


IDG UK Sites

Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comparison: What's the best Android phablet?

IDG UK Sites

The iPhone is doomed. Doomed to be marginally less successful than a very successful thing.

IDG UK Sites

How to prototype native mobile apps without writing code

IDG UK Sites

How to prepare for and update to OS X Yosemite: Get your Mac ready to download & install Apple's...