Slingbox PRO-HD - Interesting concept, good implementation [Review]


5 Aug 2011
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The Slingbox Pro-HD is a very interesting concept and a unique device aimed at what is currently a very niche market, but one that has the potential to grow given its abilities. The streaming from the connected devices (STB, DVD player e.t.c.) is absolutely flawless, even for HD content assuming your Internet connection is up to the task. The ability to watch content streamed from somewhere, anywhere is a novel feature, but so is the price tag (Rs. 15,000). If you need to be watching an HD movie in New York, being played on your TV in Mumbai, then the Slingbox PRO-HD is for you, else skip it.

Video streaming is largely stutter free
Quality of streamed video is very good
No monthly subscription charges
Good compatibility with a large number of devices
Works with Windows and Mac via web browser
Mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7

Slightly complicated to set up the first time, via the online account
No HDMI input
You need to buy the mobile apps

Look & Feel
The Slingbox PRO-HD is much lighter than what you may assume when you first look at it. The trapezoidal design gives it a pretty big footprint. The metallic body means that the matte black and grey finish looks really classy. Matte means it isn’t glossy…thank God! The front has a grille design integrates a bunch of red coloured LEDs that light up when the device is in on. Towards the bottom right panel are two tiny LEDs indicating power and network connectivity.
The rear of the Slingbox PRO-HD is the business end as far as ports are concerned. There are one each of Composite, Component inputs and S-Video inputs, and one each for the output. The LAN port, USB port and Coaxial in/out are the other ports. The reset button on this is clearly visible, and useful in case of some problem. After all, this thing doesn’t have an on-screen menu.

The very purpose of this device is to stream video content to your laptop or smartphone, either on the home network or over the Internet anywhere on the planet. Essentially, connect a device like a DTH set top box or even a DVD player, and access it on the laptop or mobile while you are in another city, or even another country.
The Slingbox PRO-HD is capable of streaming HD video over a network. Depending on what your Internet speeds, (obviously), the streaming is seamless. We were surprised by the quality offered, when we were viewing on a laptop – it’s pretty good.
What the Slingbox PRO-HD misses out on is HDMI input and Wireless LAN capabilities. While the lack of HDMI is a surprise, the missing wireless network capabilities is possibly because they want to stay away from any issues related bandwidth limitations that some users may face, but not really know about it. Well, you will have to use a wired connection, which means that the router and the PRO-HD need to be in close proximity to each other.
Setting up the PRO-HD is a slightly complicated process. For a novice, setting it up is slightly complicated. First, whatever devices you need to connect have to be hooked up to the PRO-HD via the component, composite or S-Video connections. For HD sources, Component is the only method, due to the lack of HDMI, (which means you’ll get 1080i at best). Once this is done, the wired connection to the receiver needs to be established. The LED on the front of the Slingbox will indicate the connectivity.

Source : Digit Magazine
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