Slingbox Solo £130

31st Mar 2008 | 15:03

Slingbox Solo

Getting to grips with the ‘baby’ of the Slingbox range

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Straightforward to use, as long as you have a good connection, this is a handy streaming device

Like:

Convenient; Easy to set up; Schedule recordings remotely

Dislike:

Ethernet only; Works best with fast connections

The Slingbox Solo enables you to watch your TV wherever a computer with a broadband network connection is available.

It can stream video to a computer on your home network, or a remotely located one connected to the 'net. 3G mobile phones are also accommodated for, but you're expected to pay £20 for the privilege.

AV sources like set-top boxes can be connected via component (up to 1080i, although it's downscaled to standard-def internally), composite or S-video - you also get a common audio input.

Over a home network, sound and picture quality from a SkyHD box are good - a visit with laptop in tow to a friend yielded more variable results as the system attempted to optimise AV quality for the prevailing connection.

Be prepared for artifact-ridden pictures and drop-outs - still, better than nothing...

Highs
l. Never again miss a programme - provided broadband is available. No more boring hotel telly in languages you can't understand.
2. The free player software is available for both PCs (Windows XP/Vista) and Macs (OS X).
3. Very easy to set up - unlike earlier Slingbox incarnations, and the black finish is miles better than the salmon-pink Slingbox Pro.
4. You can remotely schedule recordings on PVRs (e.g., Sky+).

Lows
l. No wi-fi - the Slingbox Solo is resolutely Ethernet-only. However, Sling also sells 'Slinglink Turbo' powerline networking adaptors.
2. For the best picture quality, a fast connection is needed. This isn't guaranteed if you're in a different country - and AV might suffer.
3 .The Solo is incapable of 'learning' new handset codes.

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