"lousy support"on by jamdoc1
Pros nothing since I can't get it to work outside of my living room.
Cons tech support stinks. they want $29.99 to tell me why Port forwarding doesn't work remotely. I'd rather throw the darn thing out..
Summary It worked at home but when I tried to view remotely I got an error message about DVI connections but I connected via s-video. I was on vacation in Canada and contacted Slingmedia tech support and 24 hours later received e-mail that they will help me at a cost of $29.99.
Pros Best CS department in town
Cons It's more difficult to get out of the box than to operate
Summary The best part about my new Slingbox Solo is knowing that they’ve got an awesome customer support department to lean on. I’m one of those guys that tosses the directions aside in favor of figuring things out myself. I will admit however that I did look at the directions for a few seconds. After fiddling with the software setup for about 15 minutes I decided to give their chat support a try. I got Cathy. We chatted for a few minutes and I followed her instructions but I eventually gave her control over my system and watched her whiz through my multi firewall setup. It’s certainly not a real difficult task to setup the Slingbox equipment, but setting up port forwarding can be challenging. I have to tell you and everybody reading this review that my 6 minute CS experience with Cathy was ‘the best’ CS experience I have ever encountered. Anybody that’s purchased network equipment and had to contact the manufacturer knows how frustrating it can be. Most of the time you’re speaking to someone in India that knows much less about your equipment than you do. None of that at Slingbox. They know their stuff.
"Paid Support????"on by dannyolds
Pros Good idea, not sure if it works
Cons Support is pathetic
Summary I can't speak for anybody else, but I would assume most would be concerned that this company only provides free support for 90 days after purchase (after that you pay for it). Sounds an awful lot to me like a product that is either high maintenance, doesn't work, or a company that sees support as a profit center. I was encouraged by the "you are watching TV over the internet in 20 minutes" tagline. Sure enough I had the thing set up in 20 minutes, but it didn't work. After battling with obscure and misleading error messages for a few hours I called support and was told that I had to send proof of purchase before they could help. This was to ensure that I was within the 90 day horizon. Support closed at 7pm and it was 6:45. I was told I had to scan or photograph my receipt and email it in to get help, but of course that couldn't happen before 7pm so I was out of luck for the day. I asked four times if that was the standard means of confirming purchase and/or registering the product to see if there was a faster way via the web and the guy refused to answer. He eventually HUNG UP ON ME, and I spent several more hours in vain trying to get the stupid thing working. My error message had to do with "disconnected due to poor internet connection". Apparently this is a popular problem. The Slingbox was hardwired to my router and every other device in my house has good connectivity. The setup program found the Slingbox on my network, so clearly they are either masking their own problem or too lazy to provide actionable feedback about the real problem. Basically this forces you to contact them.........a very good strategy if you can get people to pay for support! Sent the stuff in today and now have the privledge of getting support. Every instinct I have is telling me that this is going to turn out to be a nightmare, but I will try and make it work because I like the idea.
Pros Streams your TV over your network, the internet, even over your 3g
Included IR Blaster to send remote control commands
Skinned remotes resemble your device's remote
Built in program guide
Watchable in your browser or dedicated client
Cons Video can lag at times
No built-in wireless, requires available ethernet or expensive adapter.
Desktop video has no processing, looks very rough
Mobile video framerate limited
Mobile app costs extra
Summary When I bought a TiVo back in 2003 I never knew how much it would change the way I watched TV, in fact, I didn't think anything could change how I watch TV....then enters Sling Media's Slingbox to prove me wrong.
I won't go in to explaining just what Slingbox is, because you can read everywhere that it's a small box that connects to the A/V output of your cable/satellite/set-top box, includes a IR blaster and allows you to stream and control your box from anywhere...and that's exactly what it is. Rather, I'll give you the opinion of someone who's had one for just under a week...and had slightly higher expectations of the thing.
Overall I have to say i'm happy with the unit in a way that the "issues" with the unit are outweighed by overall usability/accessability. The video quality streaming over the network is what I'd call fair at best. It doesn't show a lot, if any, compression artifacts or framerate drop...in fact the VC-1 is being pumped across my network at upsards of 6mbps. The problem lies with the fact the video is 640x480, which is tiny compared to modern screen resolutions; and the unit does not seem to use any video hardware acceleration in Windows 7. It shows massive signs of simple interpolation resizing. It looks very rough when scaling up to full screen. Keeping the SlingMedia client in a sidebar mode reduces the amount of roughness and provides an excellent way to watch TV while you're still using your PC. However, the video maintains a nice stable stream over my WiFi, reaching as I mentioned, about 6mbps depending on the content. Occasionally something with a very drastic screen change or lots of action will make the video freeze up for a frame, and you will notice this when issuing remote commands because the stream will freeze up for just a fraction of a second. This results in a somewhat "mushy" feeling to using the onscreen remote, which I'll talk about in a bit. I have not been able to attempt PC streaming over the internet as I've not been anywhere with a fast enough internet connection to run a good test. The specs mention you need at least 150kbps for mobile streaming and 600kbps for SD streaming (which it only supports SD anyway). I've read the internet streaming is limited to a couple mbps. So if you want to stream online, naturally, keep your uplink speed in mind.
On the mobile side, the app will run you about 30 bucks for the various supported mobile platforms. While the price is steep, if you own a SlingBox it's an investment you very well may want to make. I personally have an Android device...and while streaming on WiFi, the result is excellent. The format of the mobile device profile may play a larger role in why the framerate seems slower, even when streaming on wifi. However, there's still a thrill of watching your TV, literally in a sense, on your phone. I have a Samsung Intercept on Sprint's 3G network, and I'm quite impressed with the quality of the unit when streaming. The mobile streaming, for the most part, is watchable when you're in an area of adequate 3G coverage/capacity. I've sat in a mall food court eating lunch while watching a DVR recorded episode of Family Guy. So the quality seems to solely depend on how crowded your network is and your reception quality...but the unit is capable of a very watchable 3G stream.
Setup was done through a web-browser, although you can do it through the player, the browser solution seems to have additional options. You're guided through the setup by the program and, with updating the unit, took less than 20 minutes, although finding the right match for your remote might take some time and you may need to try other models since often a provider uses the same remote across a generation of brands. In my case, I had to use a Motorola DVR model to get the right virtual remote skin for my provider's box. However, once you figure it out the interface isn't too difficult. You can have individual windows (virtual remote, program guide) dockable to the main window; you can set it to sidebar mode where the sidebar can take up to half of your screen, with the video at the top and virtual remote at the bottom, the amount showing depending on the size of the video in accordance to the aspect.
On the downside, you must have an ethernet connection at the unit as it offers no other way of connectivity. You could maybe get by with some sort of wireless to ethernet bridge, or even an AC networking kit (which Sling sling sells), but these options will cost extra.
Despite the handful of cons, if you're looking to stream your set-top box in your yard, halfway across the world, or while waiting at the DMV, the Slingbox Solo is the most affordable package to get the job done.
Pros Living in the Philippines, most all US video is blocked: government here refuses to enforce piracy laws. Slingbox is the only option: streaming Comcast from Portland, OR. 2 years of use no problems at all. Powered up 24hrs, used here 6 hours daily.
Cons Website is down twice a year, once for 2 days. ISP connection speed (poor in the Philippines) under 500Kbps: forget it, picture freezes. More than a few seconds, content is lost. BUT not a Slingbox problem, its an ISP problem! 2+Mbps works great.
Summary For us, the Slingbox Solo has performed as advertised and has far exceeded my expectations. Also, there were no problems during installation & configuration. "Port" issues were not addressed or incurred, it was pretty much plug-in & play. Based on our experience, as long as you have a good internet connection (speed) there shouldn't be any problems.I just want to point out that since we have had no problems with this product, we have had no reason to contact customer support. It looks like if we had, we would be very disappointed. Apparently, that is how they make their money, since there is no advertising revenue, or fee for use of the streaming service. I guess we're just one of the fortunate users that have experienced no difficulties. (fingers crossed)
Updated on May 17, 2013