PlaceShift Your TV with Sling Media and your Smartphone
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SlingMedia has released a Windows Mobile Smartphone version of their popular SlingPlayer Mobile software. I've been lucky enough to be a member of the pre-Beta test group and thus, allowing me to play with the software for a number of weeks now, and I have to say; Sling Media has done an excellent job on the mobile client. Recently, I spent a couple weeks on the other side of the city, locked in a test lab with no real access to the Internet. A lot of my time was spent waiting for code to compile, run and possibly break. So, what did I do while I waited? Watched my home TV over GPRS on my Smartphone.
If you're not familiar with Sling Media or the Slingbox, you don't know what you've been missing, especially if you do any sort of traveling. All the Slingbox does is take what is currently playing on your home TV and stream it over the Internet to you. You can watch your TV from any Internet enabled computer or Windows Mobile 5 device. You can do more than just watch the TV too. You have full control of your TV as if you were sitting in front of it holding the remote control. You can even turn it on and off. If you have a Media Center, or another DVR/PVR type device, you can control that as well. Which means, all of the content you have recorded can be watched remotely over the Internet. You can pick up a Slingbox from Amazon (affiliate) for around $180, or from your local electronics store.
My GPRS connection has never been very fast. Any speed tests that I have done always seem to indicate a very slow connection. So I was pretty worried that I might not be able to use the Smartphone client. Needless to say, I was worrying about nothing. The resulting stream produces some excellent images considering the size of the device. If you have WiFi on your Smartphone, your even better off. The higher bandwidth really shows, especially if you're downloading email in the background.
Figure 1: Launching the SlingPlayer client will present you with the familiar Sling logo and then it's ready for your commands.
Figure 2: The first thing you need to do, is setup your Slingbox on the mobile device. If you installed the client from a PC that already has SlingPlayer installed on it, then this is done automatically during the install.
Figure 3: To add your Slingbox to the Smartphone, you just need to go select Menu / Slingbox Directory / and then hit Add. Fill in the name, Finder ID, and password for your Slingbox and your all set to go.
Figure 4: In some circumstances, you might not be able to, or want to use the Finder ID. However, if you can use the Finder ID, I recommend that route over hard coding your IP address. Regardless, Sling has taken the extra time and effort to make sure you can still connect using your IP address instead.
Figure 5: Everyone always likes to play with and tweak the options of their applications.
Figure 6: In the case of the Smartphone client, I don't think there's much room for tweaking. And to be honest, I really don't think it needs much tweaking.
Figure 7: If you want to conserve bandwidth or would rather just listen to the TV, you can do that by simply selecting the player mode you want to use.
Figure 8: Let's get down to the good stuff. Connecting to your TV. Once you have your Slingbox setup, just press the Watch button. SlingPlayer will start by locating your Slingbox over the Internet and then it will begin the process of connecting to it and starting the stream. This screen will toggle between those 3 states and then start to show you your TV signal. It only takes a matter of 5 to 10 seconds before the picture appears.
Figure 9: Lucky for me, my kids left the TV tuned to the cartoon network, but that's not a problem.
Figure 10: I can quickly punch in the channel of my choice on the keypad and watch as my TV changes the channel and I get to watch the program of my choice. I'm on satellite service at home. You can see I'm tunning into a popular movie.
Figure 11: TV enjoyment, from wherever you might roam.
Screen captures can only show so much. The SlingPlayer Mobile client is a solid performer. If you do any traveling, or perhaps you're looking for a way to watch the World Cup games while you're not at home, I would strongly suggest you look into a Slingbox and SlingPlayer Mobile.
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