In a world where wireless Internet connection reigns supreme, both work and play are accessible online including TV shows. When many devices are constantly connected to the Internet either through cables or WiFi, it is possible to access data or contents from one device to another. The Sling Media Slingbox 500 is a good example of how modern entertainment contents originally broadcasted on cable/satellite TV and DVR can be played on computer/laptop, tablet, and even smartphone wirelessly. In other words, Slingbox 500 by Sling Media is basically a wireless cable TV extender with the capability of providing constant connections from one TV unit to other media players and even to another TV.
Once this streaming media player is connected to your TV (with or without DVR) and the home network, it basically transmits the TV show currently broadcasted on crisp 720p or 1080p resolution to your computer, smartphone, and even tablet. Of course, it is necessary that you install streaming apps on the handheld devices and computer as well. The home streaming apps for mobile devices are free, while the computer version (Windows and Mac) is also available free of charge as a browser plug-in. If you have another TV unit connected to a compatible receiver, you can also stream contents to it from the Slingbox 500. Compared to other popular streaming media players, Slingbox 500 by Sling Media is not the cheapest, but with HDMI connections and possibility to play entertainment contents on mobile devices on-the-go, it is always worth considering if you are a TV addict (4 out of 5 stars).
“If you are looking for a Wireless Cable TV Extender”
Real-Time On-The-Go Streaming Media Player
It does not only stream entertainment contents from your cable/satellite TV channels to other devices connected to the home network, but you can also access the show on-the-go from your smartphones or tablets. There is an app provided to every major mobile device operating system including iOS, Android, and Windows. As mentioned earlier, the streaming application for laptop comes as free plug-in for Internet browser. It allows you use mobile devices to watch any available TV show currently broadcasted on TV, meaning you have real-time entertainment content even when you are not at home. It is also possible to watch any show that has already been recorded on your DVR. The home streaming app for smartphones and tablets are freely available on application stores, but you have to use paid apps for on-the-go streaming. One of the best things is that it requires no additional activation or subscription fee to stream from Slingbox 500.
Over-The-Air Cable TV Extender
Besides streaming to computer and mobile devices, Slingbox 500 by Sling Media can also stream TV shows to another TV unit. The biggest advantage is that you can watch cable TV channels on two different TVs without even connecting them with cables. The other TV, however, has to be connected with a compatible streaming media player. It is worth mentioning that your other TV does not have to at the same home. As long as you connect it to a compatible streaming media player, all channels from your cable TV subscriptions are available to watch on the secondary TV. Once again, the streaming is provided as free service. Of course, by using this wireless cable TV extender, you can also avoid paying more subscription fee to access the channels from a secondary TV unit. Currently, Slingbox 500 is compatible with streaming media players including Apple TV, Roku, WD TV Live Media Player, Sony Internet Player with Google TV, and Netgear NeoTV.
Full HD Audio/Video Quality
Another advantage is that Slingbox 500 streams video to all the compatible devices at 1080p resolutions. The package includes HDMI as well as composite cable connections. Certain cable TV providers use encryption on the broadcasted program, so the HDMI connection may not work. Such encryption issue is not because a flawed device, but it is actually a method used by providers to prevent piracy and block unsubscribed users from accessing channels or programs. However, the package also brings composite cable connections that can be used simultaneously with the HDMI connection to solve the problem. Streaming multimedia files from other devices to TV is also possible; it means that Slingbox 500 acts as both transmitter and receiver in this case. You can play movies or view photos from your mobile devices on bigger screen HDTV or even transfer those files to an external hard drive connected to the Slingbox 500.
Sling Media Slingbox 500 Features and Specification
- Stream cable/satellite TV shows either live or recorded on DVR to smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even a secondary TV unit.
- Compatible with major operating systems including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
- Stream at full HD 1080p resolution.
- Built-in WiFi, Ethernet connection, HDMI, and composite audio/video connection.
- Free mobile apps for home streaming to mobile devices and computer/laptop.
- Built-in IR extender to eliminate the need for the external one.
- Streaming services are available without subscription fee.
- SlingProjector to stream multimedia files to HDTV.
- USB port to connect external hard drive where you can store multimedia files.
Customer Reviews and Score
As previously mentioned, it is not the cheapest wireless cable TV transmitter available in the market, but Slingbox 500 by Sling Media does offer plenty of good features including HDMI support, built-in WiFi, and built-in IR extender. In Amazon, it has compiled many customer reviews so far with the average rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars.
One of its best features is the ability to stream TV shows to mobile devices on-the-go. When you stream movies or channels while you are connected to home network, you can use the freely available mobile apps. If you are not at home, however, you need to use the paid apps. The streaming is indeed free of charge, but purchasing the apps means additional cost. Nevertheless, the apps are relatively affordable for most so it will not be a deal breaker when performance is the sole priority. Let us not forget that streaming applications for Windows and Mac computers come free as browser plug-in. Also, the HDMI connection is rendered useless if the cable TV providers use encryption method to prevent subscribers from streaming the program via HDMI. You can still use the included composite connection cables for the streaming to mobile devices or secondary TV, and utilize the HDMI connection for SlingProjector function.
Overall, Sling Media Slingbox 500 is an excellent wireless cable TV extender that streams programs and channels to your mobile devices. If you are a TV addict, having the capabilities to access live TV shows on-the-go is certainly useful for many reasons. It also streams full HD 1080p resolution, so you get the best audio/video quality on all devices. Added with built-in WiFi, HDMI support, and built-in IR extender, the Slingbox 500 actually gives many things to improve multimedia contents accessibility and the pleasure of watching TV.