If you’re not interested in watching everything from your Sky box to your DVD player while away from home, this is a cost-effective alternative to the Slingbox Pro
The original Slingbox rocked our world, allowing us to catch up on all our favourite TV shows from wherever we were. And the new Pro excites us too, especially with its support for high-definition.
The Pro also comes with the ability to control up to four sources at the same time. But to be fair, we’re not really fussed about accessing all our media while out and about. If you‘re away for the weekend, surely all you need is the ability to catch up with Match of the Day?
Solo by name…
That’s where this new version comes in. It has hi-def support but, as the name suggests, it only provides access to one of your collection of sources – be it a Sky+ box, DVD player or anything else. And your reward for this cut-down spec is a lower price, which is nice.
However, it also comes at a cost: this is the first Slingbox not to have a Freeview tuner. The feature may seem insubstantial if you have cable or satellite, but it always meant you could watch one show while another person watched the main TV.
And it was great for avoiding domestic strife, especially as you could do it over your home network, not just in a hotel the other side of the world.
Shrunken, not stirred
This aside, the Solo works in exactly the same way as previous incarnations, and indeed looks like a shrunken black version of its siblings.
Setting up is a breeze too, with a decent amount of hand-holding supplied in the manual. That also applies to the online part of the process, where you have to download the latest version of the Sling Player for your laptop.
Picture near perfect
There’s been a major improvement in picture quality since the original ’box, and the addition of hi-def helps this even further, with HD movies looking great over a home wireless network. Standard def looks good too, but suffers over the slower data rates of, say, a public wireless hotspot.
However, the quality is still good enough to enjoy daytime TV, if not our HD recordings of Heroes. It also worked well on a Nokia N95, with the software running smoothly and the quality impressive on the smaller screen.
So if you want to save some cash and are only interested in streaming a single video source, we’d plump for the Solo over the Pro.