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The Slingbox Solo has been one of the most popular digital media devices on the market for a few years now. Unlike Roku or Logitech Revue, this isn’t a device that brings internet streaming to your TV. Instead, the Slingbox Solo connects up to your home network to let you access your home TV content from PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones no matter where you are.
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Average Price: $158.95
Size: 11.6 x 9.6 x 3.5
Connection: HDMI, Composite Video
Resolution: Up to 1080i
SD Card Slot: None
USB Ports: None
Storage Space: None
Web Browser: None
Slingbox Solo: The Good
Range Of Devices: The Slingbox is designed to stream your living room TV to a whole range of different devices. It works with just about anything, and streams both standard definition and high definition shows. This is fantastic for those who travel a lot, for people who are regularly on the go, or even for those who want the ability to watch their TV from a different room of the house without having to go to the hassle of setting up their cable/ satellite connection to a new TV.
You can either stream your home TV content to your PC or Mac using Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari, or you can download smartphone and tablet apps (at extra cost) to take the ability to stream content with you wherever you are. There are currently Slingbox apps available for: Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android tablets, Android smartphones, Palm OS and Symbian.
Connect Up To A DVR: The Slingbox Solo doesn’t come with the option for recording TV built into it. However, if you connect a DVR up to the device then you increase the content available to you: you’ll be able to watch your recorded content remotely, as well as live TV.
Pause And Rewind Live TV: The good news is that, even if you don’t own a DVR, you can still pause and rewind live TV (within a period of 60 minutes after the live show goes out) using this device.
No Service Fees: Unlike TiVo, you don’t need to pay a service fee to use all of the features offered by the Slingbox Solo. This is great news for those who are willing to forego the extras, like streaming media over the internet or the features that pick which shows to record to your DVR. This is a simpler device designed to be used in conjunction with an additional DVR player if you need to.
Set Up: The Slingbox Solo is easy to get up and running. It’s compatible with just about any A/V source, which includes a DVR, set top box or satellite receiver. Plug this in to the back of the device, connect the Slingbox to your home broadband connection, perform the Slingbox setup on your PC or Mac and you’ll be ready to go.
Interface: Using the Slingbox is easy. When you’re using it on external devices, you get an on-screen remote to match the one you’ll use to control the TV. This can help you navigate through the various channels, access the electronic program guide and watch TV live.
Slingbox Solo: The Bad
Extra Costs For Apps: Although you have to pay out around $150 for the device itself, you’ll need to spend more if you want to watch TV content on your smartphone or tablet computer. Watching it on the PC or Mac is free, but apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry cost around $30 each. The good news is that most users will only need to buy one such app to make the most out of their Slingbox Solo.
No Wi-Fi: Unlike most modern devices of this kind, the Slingbox Solo doesn’t come with the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks built in. Instead, you’ll have to use a wired Ethernet connection. This can be a little inconvenient depending on the location of the cables in your home.
Can’t Watch Different Things On Different Devices: If you tune into your Slingbox Solo to watch TV, the way it works means that, if someone else is already watching it, you’ll be forced to watch the same thing if you want to continue watching at the same time. Note that only one user can access the Slingbox from a device other than the TV at any one time.
Design: This device isn’t the most stylishly designed on the market. It’s a box with slanted edges, it’s not too big but not tiny either, and it has a red stripe on either side. When comparing it with simple DVD players, cable boxes or devices like the Apple TV, this one just doesn’t quite meet the design standards.
No Streaming Content: This isn’t a streaming device like the Apple TV, rather it’s designed for sharing content across multiple devices. It does perform that function pretty well, and better than most of the digital streaming competitors, but given that the price of many media streamers is so low, you might expect some online streaming functionality in this product that costs over $150.
Is The Slingbox Solo Worth Buying?
The Slingbox Solo certainly comes with some limitations, notably the fact that it can’t connect to Wi-Fi and it’s not a multimedia streaming devices like Apple TV or the Roku box. However, its main purpose is to give you access to your home TV content on the move, and in this respect it works very well. In short, the Slingbox is an excellent choice for people who enjoy TV and frequently travel, or have the need to watch TV in more than one room of the house.