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Wi-Fi and Networking Reviews
15,645 Reviews

Slingbox Pro media-streaming device

£199 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Sling Media

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

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.

Instead of a direct HD connection, therefore, you can stream your HD content from the Slingbox Pro to your PC or laptop screen. Along the way, it will have been compressed in order to make this viable. Sling says video codecs have been noticeably improved for the Slingbox Pro and with the average UK household now able to stream at between 4Mps and 5Mbps, its top-end 8Mbps performance ought to be able to take advantage of this. The Slingbox Pro is still limited to 640x480-pixels and the SlingStream software has to downsample 720p, 480p and 768p content.

The Slingbox Pro ‘s playback is widescreen where appropriate and, as with previous Slingboxes, the onscreen remote control mimics that of the device on which the video you’re viewing is housed.

And since you’ve got at least four means of attaching your Slingbox Pro to media devices, there’s every chance that at some stage one of those devices you want to hook up will be an HD one. Still, this won’t alter the fact that you’ll still have to call home to ask the kids to stick your well-worn copy of American Pie in the DVD player so you can watch it from your hotel room in Beijing.

As well as viewing what’s on now, you can use your Slingbox Pro software to control your PVR (personal video recorder), satellite TV set-top box and to access the recorded TV, video, photos, video stored on them. The Slingbox Pro itself still has to be physically attached to the broadband router (it isn’t a Wi-Fi device in its own right) but you can access it from a Wi-Fi hotspot or even a Symbian S60 mobile phone or Windows Mobile 6.0 handset.

We hooked our Slingbox Pro up to a Mac and an Apple TV and were able to access our iTunes library as well as changing channels and imposing our selection of TV programmes on some rather surprised guests who had dropped by. The Slingbox Pro works with PCs too, of course, and we were also able to use it remotely on a Windows XP laptop.

Used outside your own network, you’re at the mercy of the Slingbox Pro’s upstream broadband connection rates available to you: an absolute minimum of 256Kbps makes for acceptable viewing. At home you’ll be able to use a HomePlug (or a SlingLink – the Sling Media take on powerline networking).

Slingbox Pro Expert Verdict »
Slingbox Pro Scores 8.0 out of 10 based on 39 reviews
Media streaming device
1 network cable
2x antenna cables
RF splitter
S-Video connector
HDMI cable
AV connector
AV cable
eight: xxxg
dimensions: 416x79x254mm
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 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

There are two key things you need to know about the Slingbox Pro: it supports high-definition and it comes with a built-in TV tuner. For the latter, you’re paying £70 more than for the Slingbox Solo but you can also use the Pro with four separate devices and access content from any one of them remotely. If you’re the sort of person who consumes video, TV and music like it’s going out of fashion or want to offer the widest possible variety of viewing options to everyone in the household – including access to your Sky HD box – you’ll understand exactly what’s so cool about it.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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