What is Slingbox?

Category: Networking , Video

Imagine you're in a hotel room, on another continent... you fire up the laptop, and with a few clicks, you're watching the same cable or satellite TV programming that's in your living room at home. You can change the channel, or even view the shows that your Tivo recorded for you last night. It's not smoke and mirrors, it's Slingbox...

Slingbox - SlingPlayer on LaptopSlingbox is a very cool product that routes signals from your satellite, cable box, or personal video recorder to your computer. The Slingbox can transmit signals to any computer in your house that has an internet connection, or to any computer in the world that has a broadband internet connection. Oh, and if you don't want to lug your laptop around, you can "sling" your signal to a Windows-based cell phone or PDA, such as the Palm Treo, HP iPaq or Motorola Q. class="imgmain" />

Remotely Watch and Control Your Television via the Internet

Sling Media, the maker of Slingbox, says it's all about staying connected to your favorite programs, wherever your life takes you. Choose the SlingboxTUNER, SlingboxAV, or SlingboxPRO, depending on your needs, and the type of programming and equipment you have at home.

The Slingbox lets you watch your home television almost anywhere, including any subscriptions, special programming, or sports packages you may have, with no extra fees. If you can watch it on your home TV, Slingbox will bring it to your computer, phone or portable device.

How Slingbox Works

Slingbox network connectionThe Slingbox device plugs into your television source (cable, satellite, set-top box or DVR) using a coaxial, component, composite, or S-video cable. The network connector on the Slingbox then connects to your Internet router with a standard ethernet cable, or wirelessly with a special bridge adapter. An infrared cable from the Slingbox, pointed at your TV or DVR gives you the ability to remotely control them from your computer. No matter how you connect the Slingbox, you'll need to install the SlingPlayer interface software on your computer or portable wireless device, in order to view the video programming remotely.

Slingbox Products

Slingbox - SlingPlayer on Treo As mentioned earlier, Sling Media offers a great line of products. Each product is designed for a specific function. For example SlingboxTUNER is used to transmit regular television signals to your computer; SlingboxAV is used to transmit digital programming from satellites, DVRs and digital cable to your computer; and SlingboxPRO is used when you have several different multimedia configurations that you want to transmit to your computer.

Competing Products and Services

While Slingbox is a pioneer in this market, they are not alone. An up-and-coming product that will inevitably give Slingbox a run for their money is Hava Wireless. Hava Wireless offers consumers similar functions to the Slingbox, however, it also offers several unique features that make it a more versatile product. Some of the unique features offered by Hava Wireless include: easy wireless connections, it works well with Windows XP Media Center Edition which will allow you to record streaming video live on your PC, and finally, it allows up to four viewers at a time to access the streaming video signal within your household (Slingbox only allows the streaming video to be accessed by one receiver at a time.)

Another competitor of the Slingbox is Orb, which has been dubbed "Slingbox without the box" and is offered as a free download. To use Orb all you have to do is to install the software on your home computer, and install a TV tuner like Hauppauge's WinTV PVR-150ADS, or the Diamond XtremeTV PVR660. To view your TV programming, logon to the "MyCast" page at Orb.com with any device that has an internet connection and a streaming media player.

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Most recent comments on "What is Slingbox?"

Posted by:

17 Jul 2007

I love my SlingBoxes, but the infrastructure just isn't there yet. I've stayed at several different hotels in the past month and a half. ONE of them was able to handle SlingBox: Courtyard by Marriot. The others couldn't handle the streaming data; at least not for long. The box needs 256K, and each hotel provided around 500K-1M (low but sufficient). Too often the speed dropped to 100K or less -- meaning that I just couldn't see what I was watching. However, since this is just tapping into my existing recorder, IT kept going. So I HAD to get back, pause and rewind.

Note that I DID find a way to limit my usage to around 300K, but that still didn't help. I was told that such bandwidth could get me kicked off. Once or twice I did seem to be dropped; I don't know if they kicked me off for being a hog. So, great product, great idea, but there's a good chance your hotel can't support it -- or at least not well.

Posted by:

05 Sep 2007

I'm deciding which device to use and appreciate the comments. I saw a friend use it last week with his cellular aircard. It was perfect. So, springing for the monthly aircard fee will give you access to your DVR wherever there is a cellular signal and you won't be hostage to hotels or Starbucks.

Posted by:

25 Oct 2007

read a good review on the slingbox AV over at

Cyberberpunk cafes slingbox review

Posted by:

Dale Hasick
28 Dec 2009

I recently switched back to DTV and the receiver model r16-300 is not on the list to set up video therefore I can not get my remote to appear nor change channels. I'm on windows xp and slingbox 2.0. Slingmedia wanted me to sign up for their tech support service to fix the problem. is it fixable?

Posted by:

09 Mar 2011

I work for DISH Network and just wanted to add the DISH Network can now bring your TV everywhere you go on your mobile device without any additional cost! Let me tell you how this is possible first you need to have high-speed internet or at least a 3G cellular data plan and a Sling adapter, if you do not have one DISH can sell you one for $99. This only works on model 722 and 722k HD DVR's but DISH does have the 922 that has Sling capabilities already built in so you don’t need the adapter. Check it out www.dish.com/TVeverywhere.

Posted by:

Russell Rutherford
17 Oct 2015

I need to get a signal from a Coaxial Cable box across our family room to a Smart wall hung HDTV, ( not yet purchased ). Floor is tile so I can not run a Coaxial Cable under carpet or along the base-board.
Condo is in Fl. and Cable service is Bright House.
What are my options ?

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