Slingbox SOLO : Updated

Today I picked up the Slingbox SOLO while at BestBuy. Cost $180. I chose the SOLO for two reasons; I only wanted to use it with my cable box and to upgrade to the 3 device version is $300. I didn't see the need to buy more then I needed; at least not until I had actually scene one fo these in action.

What it is:

The SOLO offers control over one device and allows you to view that device using a computer fro manother location. That device can be a MAC, Windows PC, Sling Catcher, and mobile devices. The device can be connected via HDMI, Component, S-Video, and Composite cables.

In the Box

Sling Media provides you with the SOLO, the power, the IR controls, an ethernet cable, and a composite cable. As you can tell from this list they DO NOT provide you with a software cd. To get the software you are required to log onto downloads.slingmedia.com and download the MAC or Windows version depending on what you need.

Hardware Install:

The hardware installation is quick and easy. I connected the power to the wall, the ethernet to my switch, the composite cable to the cable box, and the ir cable were placed where they would control the cable box.

Software Installation:

I decided to test it using a MAC and a PC running Windows 7. First I downloaded the MAC version. During the first Sling Player installation you are required to set up your Slingbox, Update the firmware, and setup your router to allow external access. The whole process is very simple. The software locates the Slingbox. A little screen will pop up showing what is currently being played so you will know immediatly if video and sound work. They ask what you are connecting. I chose a cable box, chose my cable provider, and even though they had a list of cable boxes mine was not listed. I have to choose other and then test through a list of codes to find which one was correct. Of course mine was the 6th of 7 choices. Once this is done you set up the router for external access to work. It says it can work automatically. It didn't. I made the changes to the router myself. Once all this was done The player came up and I was able to control the cable box. Now since I was one the LAN with the SOLO it defaulted to use those settings. I created a seconded listing for a SlingBox and pointed it to the IP and port so that it would go out and come back in. Setting up the Windows side went even smoother since all the settign were already set for the Slingbox. The Windows software contacted the Slingbox, retreived all the information, and worked fine.

Quality:

Now as for the whole reason to get this product. I was able to quickly flip through channels and the quality was decent. This device connected is a Digital cable box via composite cables. The quality was standard cable through coax directly attached to an LCD. It is possible that being connected via HDMI or component would equal a better quality but I have not tested that so far. All and all I am quite happy with the product thus far. OVer the next few days I will be testing the connection form a different state and will be able to provide more details on how well it works mid next week.

Update - Connecting While Away:

While out of state I decided to install Sling Player on a family memebers computer. Installation was quite easy. Install the software. Log in using the account you set up with Slingmedia and away you go.