my sister-in-law has relocated to the UK and one comment as of late has been the lack of good programming for adults (there are tons of kids shows). my wife, with the comments walt (mossberg) and david (pogue) have filtered through the either about appletv – actually started looking at it and went as far as chatting with an apple on-line support person…

my wife felt it may be a way her sister could buy current content from the iTunes store and watch it on their TV. a few things. i believe in their new place they have a widescreen tv (maybe even high def). the NTSC/PAL display methods (US displays NTSC the UK displays PAL) could be an issue (the apple rep suggested checking in the UK apple store and see if they had the appletv – if they did, then it was sure to work). big “issue” is the AppleTV in the states costs about $299, each tv show is about $1.99, movies $9.99, you get the picture. she becomes apple’s number one customer…

enter slingbox. there are 3 flavors of the slingbox and the basic concept is it is a box that redirects av content out to the internet to an awaiting player (on a mac or windows computer). harnessing the power of the internet.

the basic model would allow her in the UK to connect to a slingbox in our home and watch US TV live – great, but with the time difference she would be watching lost at 1-2am her time… not optimal. if you are traveling through the US and would like to keep up with home programming or maybe your hotel does not have a chanel you watch regularly, this could be a great solution.

the av model adds the integration of a DVR (e.g. tivo) or cable box to the mix. so imagine this… we tivo Lost on wednesday night, she pops in sometime through the day (UK time) and watches it – with full control over the tivo! neat, but since she is controlling it, the downside would be if she was poking at the tivo we would not be able to watch something or control our own tivo 😦 – this is where the timezone could work to our advantage…

the slingbox connects to your network (wired) and i’m guessing (since i have not been able to find specific instructions – only quick setup stuff online) that a hole is poked in your home router to allow access to the slingbox from the outside world. once that is done, open a player somewhere around the globe, point it to the right name and address (using an IP address or something like dyndns) and off you go. watch, control tv from anywhere you have internet access around the world! the internet will also play a big role in this. if the network is slow (between greensboro and london) there would be expected “buffering” or fragmented playback – but again, that is a wait, try and see.

sounds great. will see if we play with this and purchase one (to see how it really works). it costs less than $200. i’ve seen $125-180 and there is one more model (pro) for those who need to have their HD content on their laps…


One response to “slingbox”

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