This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
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Friday, April 21, 2006
I got a Slingbox!
I got a Slingbox!
Ta da!

I've blogged about it longingly from afar for months (here here and here); however, yesterday, I finally got a Slingbox.

Although I have only spent a few hours using it, I can already say that it is an awesome device. Right up there with TiVo in terms of the "Wow!" factor you get when you first use it.

It took me about 10 minutes to set up (most of that involved climbing behind my TV and entertainment rack to run cables through the mess of wiring I have).

Setting up the Slingbox
Yeah, that is a Dreamcast next to the Slingbox. That's just how I roll.

Hardware steup:
I connected the S-video and audio outputs from my R10 DirecTiVo to the Slingbox and ran the s-video out of the Slingbox to my TV (I am using my A/V receiver and a digital audio connection when watching the R10 directly, so there was no need to run an audio cable out from the Slingbox). Then I connected the network cable and IR blaster which allows me to control the R10.

Software setup:
I just installed SlingPlayer (which needed to download an update from the web) on my home PC and ran through the built-in wizard to tweak video quality settings and specify which device I wanted the Slingbox to control.

Upon firing up the software for the first time, I was blown away. The video is so smooth. Plus, having a clickable TiVo remote on the screen to control my R10 is great. Although I knew what the device was capable of doing (in terms of placeshifting), it is still a bit mind-boggling when you actually do it yourself.

Slingplayer running
Slingplayer running on my PC

Mahlon (8) came in and immediately started playing with it. Because it uses the TiVo remote, he had no problem interacting with it (it was on the Disney channel almost instantly).

This morning, I installed the SlingPlayer on my office PC, too (I am currently watching a Ray Lewis interview on Sportscenter). Using my Slingbox login and my Finder ID # (kind of like a MAC address for my Slingbox), I was easily able to get logged in and start using it in just a couple of minutes. As with my home network, the video is surprisingly smooth. And being able to fast forward and rewind with the TiVo remote is great.

Compared to Orb:
I hate to be a fair-weather friend to Orb, but the Slingbox blows it away for placeshifting video and giving the user complete control over the device being placeshifted.

One of my big complaints with Orb has to do with controls. Because Orb uses Windows Media Player to playback video, it is not easy (or precise) to fast forward or rewind.

While I will still use Orb to access music or photos stored on my MCE box at home, I will use Slingbox for video.

Next steps:
I plan to shoot a couple of short videos showing Slingbox and Slingplayer in action. Look for those later tonight or tomorrow. I am also looking into getting a Windows Mobile smartphone to try out SlingPlayer Mobile. Our cellphone contract is up next month, so it is the perfect time to make the switch.

In the meantime, check out my Flickr set for setting up the Slingbox.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.