Slingbox Pro media streaming device - Review

Slingbox Pro media streaming device - Review

Slingbox Pro media streaming device - ReviewThe Slingbox is a telly addict's best friend

Bottomline: Can keep you amused when out and about.

Price: £199.99

Being stuck on a train or in a foreign hotel room can be a boring experience, unless you happen to have a Slingbox to hand.

The Slingbox Pro allows viewers to watch and control their home television using a PC or mobile phone anywhere in the world (anywhere there's an internet connection, anyway).

It improves on the original Slingbox with higher speeds and support for widescreen broadcasts. It can also accept input from high-definition set-top boxes, and has an integrated analogue and digital TV tuner.

The box is large and bright and painted in a vivid red. The setup was easy, if time consuming. It comes with four inputs so it's possible to plug in a Sky or cable box, DVD player and even a games console.

Setting up the internet connection was not as easy. The Slingbox Pro doesn’t have a wireless network connection, so it must be wired up near the router. If that's too far to string a cable, it may be necessary to invest in a Homeplug network kit which uses the existing mains power cabling to carry the signal, but this adds an extra £70 or so on top of the Pro's £200 price tag.

The device comes with software for PCs and Macs, although the software to watch TV on a mobile phone requires an extra subscription. The installation process uses a step-by-step wizard and took us around six minutes to get the devices talking. It's then possible to watch your 'home' TV anywhere you can get a broadband-speed connection (which includes being in the same house, using a notebook PC in the garden).

Once installation is complete, the main window, similar to Windows Media Player, appears on the PC. In addition to playing video, it includes channel-changing controls. Picture quality was faultless, even when we maximised the window to make it fill the PC's screen. For television enthusiasts, there's nothing better out there.