Watching your own TV in hotel rooms around the world was long a dream of business travellers and football fans on honeymoon. The Slingbox made it possible: connected to your cable/Sky box and a router, it let you control and view your TV from anywhere in the world via your laptop.
Our hands still smart from applauding this development. Now comes the Slingbox Pro, designed to take the concept to the next level with high-definition support and the option to connect four sources.
SlingMedia has really got its act together when it comes to providing an appealing-looking product straight out the box, which is good because once all the cables are on the floor it doesn’t look that simple. But the instructions get rid of those in no time.
Positioning is important, because unless you are slap bang next to your router, you’re going to need to invest £70 in the SlingLink Turbo package. This two-box solution uses your electricity supply to send signals between Pro and router.
Hi-def, but low expectations
While there is support for HD, you don’t simply plug an HDMI socket into the back of the Pro – presumably because you’ll want to send pure HD direct to your TV via HDMI. But it means you have to rely on Sky supporting component video output in future HD boxes – something the broadcaster is loath to do.
Once all this is done and the software downloaded – there’s none in the box – you’re away. After a few glitches on the software front and a bit of time trying to position the ugly IR triggers correctly, we’re watching HD down the end of the garden.
And it actually looks like HD. Standard definition has also benefited from the increased data rates, although sonics are still less impressively served.
One for the fans
Add to this compatibility with mobile phones, and the Pro looks like an excellent piece of kit for the serious video and TV fan. We’re just not entirely sure why the majority of punters simply wouldn’t save £100 and buy the standard Classic model.