New gadget alert! This one is really cool. It is the Slingbox from slingmedia.com. I got one this past Christmas and love it. It allows you to watch your home television service from any computer anywhere. Just what you need... more TV!
You might ask "why don't I just watch a TV?". On occaision, I like to watch TV at my office, but I have no cable TV service and the TV recpetion is bad, so I use the Slingbox AV. I have a customer who has a Slingbox AV at his house in Sugar Land so that his brother, who lives out of state, can watch local football games. Have a wi-fi card in your laptop? Watch TV anywhere you can get on the internet.
The Slingbox comes in three versions; Slingbox Tuner, Slingbox AV and Slingbox Pro. The Slingbox Tuner will only pickup your basic cable channels. The Slingbox AV will connect to and control your cable box, satellite receiver or DVR. The Slingbox Pro will control up to four other A/V devices and will connect to High Definition devices. I have the Slingbox Tuner which allows me to watch just my basic cable.
Depending on which Slingbox you have and which devices you want to control, the connection will be a different. I will write just about the Slingbox Tuner here and assume you have a cable modem and an existing home network.
1. Locate the Slingbox Tuner near your cable modem and connect it to the cable service coming from the wall. Use a coaxial splitter, available at Radio Shack, to split or share the cable line with the cable modem and Slingbox AV.
2. Connect the Slingbox Tuner to your router using an ethernet/network cable.
3. Put the Slingbox Tuner cd into your computer and install the software. A wizard will guide you through configuring your router and Slingbox Tuner for access from outside your network.
Once your installation is complete, you can watch TV from any PC in your house that has the SlingPlayer software installed. You can watch it from the office or another home. If you have a Windows Pocket PC phone or Windows Smart Phone, you can download the "SlingPlayer Mobile" software to watch TV on your phone. This software costs about $30, but there is a free trial version. Though you can connect from many locations, be aware that you can only connect one computer at a time.
There are no ongoing services fees of any kind. You can continue to use your Slingbox AV month after month without paying a dime. You can find more information at www.SlingMedia.com. You can purchase the Slingbox at CompUSA. The basic model is about $180. Feel free to call me if you have any questions.