So anyway, a couple of weeks ago I got around to setting-up my Slingbox. Here it is still in its box and ready to join its friends under the telly:
It's pretty small. For comparison, here it is alongside a bottle of beer and a Wii remote:
Cool. Anyway, as you can see from the first photo I need it to 'play nice' with my Tivo and cable TV box. In theory the cable should be ok if it can live with the Tivo, and indeed it can. Although there are no spare SCART or composite outputs on the Tivo, the Slingbox comes with an adapter that sits between the SCART socket and cable and sneaks some composite video out. This goes into the Slingbox. Out of the Slingbox come two IR LEDs that you position in front of the Tivo so that it receives their signals, as if they were the remote. The Slingbox then plugs into the gigabit Ethernet switch that I have at that end of the room.
So does it work well? The answer is yes, it most definitely does! I downloaded the latest Mac Slingplayer software from Slingmedia site and gave it a go. Video quality is excellent, and alongside the video feed is a 'virtual' version of the Tivo remote that behaves exactly as the real one does. The software determines how much bandwidth you have and adjusts the video feeds accordingly, so with gigabit Ethernet in the house it does pretty well. I also tried the Windows client on my work laptop and it's not bad from the office - certainly watchable.
All in all a pretty good gadget then. While I could just get a USB TV tuner, I have to say that it's very nice to be able to watch my own Tivo from anywhere. I can also set it to record stuff if I'm out too, and watch pre-recorded TV, so it's much more useful that just watching what's on at the moment. Top stuff. Coincidentally, Dixons are selling it for 40 quid off from their Web site if you enter 'NOW35' at the checkout. Top tip from Google sponsored links there.