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Slingbox PRO-HD Review

While set-top boxes and home media servers have done an excellent job of providing access to our content around the home, another battlefield for gaining our attention is on the mobile front. Beyond the barrage of online services to choose form for streaming content, we also have the ability to stream our own recorded content on the web. The Slingbox Pro-HD is a device exactly for that purpose. For those that are unfamiliar with the concept of the Slingbox, it’s a intermediary device that sits between your content provider (cable, satellite, DVR, etc) and your television. Using a connection to your home network, it can send out anything on content provider to your PC or most mobile devices. For instance, if you are commuting and want to watch a live football game, you can.

However, it’s not a device to record your content. You still need a HTPC or DVR if you want to accomplish that, but you can watch all that content via the Slingbox. There are two set-top boxes in the Slingbox lineup, the Solo (standard definition) and the Pro-HD (high definition). The Pro-HD requires a higher level of bandwidth to transmit all that wonderful HD content onto your PC or mobile device, a minimum of 1.5 Mpbs. It’s definitely something to be wary about before purchasing it.

Pros:

– The value of accessing all your recorded media from anywhere with Wi-Fi / 3G is huge.

– Picture / Sound quality is superb on most Wi-Fi connections and flawless within my home network.

Cons:

– It’s definitely not simple to get working, requires a moderate amount of home theater and networking knowledge.

– There’s no HDMI option.

– There’s no built-in wi-fi, requires a wired connection near your router.

Conclusion:

The ability to watch your television or satellite content anywhere is certainly a powerful motivator for purchasing a Slingbox Pro-HD and, to that point, it does an admirable job of allowing access to television and movies while on the go in extremely high video / audio quality. It’s most ideally suited for consumers that spend a large percentage of time on the road and don’t want to be bothered with extra subscriptions to Hulu Plus or Netflix. It’s probably best paired with a DVR to record current shows.

However, don’t expect to have a simple installation like a Apple TV or Boxee Box. Installation alone requires a decent amount of home theater know-how. In addition, consumers that only need access to their media on-the-go a small portion of the time are likely better served with online streaming services rather than a SlingBox Pro-HD. If you are traveling all the time, consider the $299 SlingBox Pro-HD as a solid investment into getting the most out of the content that you are likely subscribing to on a monthly basis. If you are staying close to home most of the time, you can accomplish similar streaming with cheaper applications.

Read the complete review at avrev.com.

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