6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 16, 2011 7:49 AM by thenewt RSS

    Newbie needs help on deciding to buy Slingcatcher

    thenewt

      Hello friends,

       

      I am living  in Switzerland and just opened a Slingbox account in San Francisco, hosted by  http://liveamerican.tv/.

       

      I have the Premier HD package with DVR.

       

      The only annoying feature of the whole set-up is having to use the virtual remote on my macbook air when for example, I want to change channels, fast forward on the DVR etc….

       

      It would be much nicer to have a handheld remote, and I understand that is available through the use of a Slingcatcher.  I know they stopped selling them in the US but some are available here in Europe.

       

      Please read this:  http://support.slingbox.com/get/KB-005718.html     I am having trouble understanding this. Does it mean that I won't have HD ?  It says the software isn't available for Mac users, but I would be bypassing my computer and putting the Slingcatcher on my LAN and connecting to the TV. Also, there is apparently an issue regarding HDMI out from the Slingcatcher.

       

       

      Question 1:  Am I a candidate for the Slingcatcher?   If so, is there a specific model I should be looking for online, and any to avoid?

       

      Question 2:  Does the handheld remote work just as well as the Cable Box remote works at home?

       

      Question 3: Thinking the ipad version of Slingbox would be superior to the Mac application, and perhaps make a Slingcatcher with remote obsolete/unnecessary, I purchased it only to find out that I cannot access the DVR. Anyone have any informaion ion this?

       

      Many thanks

      Newt

       

      rick.newton1@gmail.com

          • Re: Newbie needs help on deciding to buy Slingcatcher
            callanish Apprentice

            Okay, I'll give this one a shot

             

            Yes, you are a candidate for a slingcatcher, but there's a few pointers that you'll need in order to make an outright decision. First of all, the quality of the stream all depends on what upload speed you are getting from San Francisco. Remote streaming latency will also come into play when you are streaming from that far of a distance to Switzerland as well. My upload and download speeds far exceed the stream speed I'm getting out of my slingbox in the U.K which is being sent to my slingcatcher in the West Coast U.S 5000 miles away. I've got a 5mb upload stream from a Slingbox solo to my slingcatcher and I'm getting a max of 1.3 - 1.4mb video stream out of it. If you are using a slingbox solo with the service from San Francisco, the slingcatcher will allow a maximum of 640 X 480 for video resolution. A slingbox hd pro will allow 1024 X 768 on the slingcatcher, but your remote viewing streaming speed would have to be extremely high to allow you to use that resolution. Any streaming speeds below 1mb will force you to reduce your resolution to 640 X 240. If you've got realistic expectations, that'll be good enough for most standard programming maybe except sports which can get pixelated at 640 X 240.

             

            I think the software they are referring to is probably for the slingprojector which you won't be using anyway, so as far as setup, the only issue I came across with HDMI was it clashed with HDCP on my Sony TV, so I switched to the component connections and haven't had a problem since. You might not have any HDMI issues with the slingcatcher.

             

            As far as the slingcatcher itself, you'll have the choice of one model. The remote that comes with it is a huge plus for convenience, but remember that due to latency there's a delay of about, in my case, 7 seconds between when I press the button and when the cable box registers it, so you've got to be on the ball when fast forwarding through commercials to know when to stop without missing part of what you are watching. All the features of your cable box, as long as the virtual remote has been correctly setup at the slingbox location, will function through the slingcatcher remote.

             

            Can't address your ipad question, but I do use my slingbox with an iphone. You'd find the experience on the slingcatcher a lot more TV user friendly than say using an iPad to do the same thing.

             

            Although the catcher is still sold in Europe, its basically a dead product. Yes, it will do the job that you need it to, as long as you've got a good upload speed coming out of San Francisco and you don't have unrealistic picture quality expectations when you are viewing remotely from that kind of distance.

             

            The next evolution on the Slingcatcher platform is going to come out of software rather than hardware and like you pointed out on your second post, other hardware exists that could use the sling software to become a sort of Slingcatcher 2.0. Right now, even though we've been waiting a while due to what my guess is Google TV's release of their Honeycomb O.S upgrade, we'll see a sling app for Google TV before the end of the year, maybe sooner. There are upsides and downsides to this. On the upside, all updates can be done through software which I believe will make things more efficient and quicker to fix bugs through an app rather than through the limitation of the slingcatcher hardware which, frankly has become a bit long in the tooth, on a technological level. You could wait and see how all this plays out. If you like an all in one device for couch surfing, watching your slingbox, netflix, etc, something like the logitech revue Google TV with the sling app and the honeycomb O.S upgrade might be worth waiting for. If you really like the benefit of using a hardware remote, and things basic, then the slingcatcher might be more what you are looking for, as long as you realize that slingmedia isn't putting any further development into it and whatever quirks you may have, you're stuck with. I've been using the slingcatcher for a few years now and I'd say it enhances the slingbox experience and makes it feel like the cable box that's 5000 miles away is right next to you, but I'm also waiting for sling's app to get released on Google TV to see if I can adapt to using a keyboard to also control my slingbox remotely. The reason for this is I'm running two slingbox's and have one slingcatcher running with another one as a backup. When and if my slingcatcher's fail, I'll be looking to making sure I have something that can take over the function and that's why I see the logitech revue as a promising replacement.

             

            P.S

             

            Just looked at that link where you will be getting the service from. The HD channels will improve the picture somewhat on the slingcatcher side. I receive both SD channels and HD channels and there is definite improvement when you view something in HD through the slingcatcher than SD, but HD viewing through remote streaming is relative. You won't receive anything like HD quality in Switzerland from San Francisco.

          • Re: Newbie needs help on deciding to buy Slingcatcher
            alanrichey42 Master
            The only annoying feature of the whole set-up is having to use the virtual remote on my macbook air when for example, I want to change channels, fast forward on the DVR etc….

             

            It would be much nicer to have a handheld remote, and I understand that is available through the use of a Slingcatcher.  I know they stopped selling them in the US but some are available here in Europe.

            While that will give you a handheld remote, it is an incredibly expensive way of changing from a virtual remote to a real remote.  The original purpose of the Slingcatcher was to allow you to view on a TV rather than a PC/Laptop.

            Does it mean that I won't have HD ?

            I stand ready to be corrected but as far as I know your will never get pure HD from a Slingbox.  The SlingCatcher itself actually outputs 1080i/p but I don't think the output from the Slingbox will match that.

            It says the software isn't available for Mac users, but I would be bypassing my computer and putting the Slingcatcher on my LAN and connecting to the TV.

              They are only talking about the initial setup of the Pro-HD.  I would guess now yoiu already have the latest firmware anyway, so that bit is irrelevant.

            Also, there is apparently an issue regarding HDMI out from the Slingcatcher.

            Never heard of that and I have 2 x Slingcatchers using the HDMI out.   What do you know that I don't ?

            Question 1:  Am I a candidate for the Slingcatcher?

            As I said, it is an astonishingly expensive was to get a real remote.   But it's your money

            If so, is there a specific model I should be looking for online, and any to avoid?

            There is only one model in existence.

            Question 2:  Does the handheld remote work just as well as the Cable Box remote works at home?

            Almost    All the normal buttons are there and the ones that aren't can be accessed via screen displays on the TV.  BUT, remember that like Slingplayer there is a 2-3 second delay between your pressing the button and the action actually occurring.

            Question 3: Thinking the ipad version of Slingbox would be superior to the Mac application, and perhaps make a Slingcatcher with remote obsolete/unnecessary, I purchased it only to find out that I cannot access the DVR. Anyone have any informaion ion this?

            Not sure i understand why using a Virtual Remote on the iPad is any different to using a Virtual Remote on the Mac, although I suppose you could argue it is touch instead of click.   But what EXACTLY do you mean by 'cannot access the DVR'   Can't really help until you explain properly.

             

            Cheers

             

            Al

              • Re: Newbie needs help on deciding to buy Slingcatcher
                thenewt

                Just wanted to thank you both for responding..and with such helpful detail.


                Yes, a Slingcatcher would be an expensive handheld remote indeed. I saw one on an AV Forum for 110 British pounds which is $160. Unfortunately someone scooped it before me. That I would have paid for. On Ebay they go for $400. YIKES.  Sounds like it would be best to wait for the Google TV device to come on market. ( unless I can locate a Slingcatcher for $150)


                As for the ipad app, it plain out doesn't work. From what I read, there is a compatability issue with the Pro and Pro-HD so it only works ell with the Solo.


                Regards

                Newt

                  • Re: Newbie needs help on deciding to buy Slingcatcher
                    OvCollyer Apprentice

                    My experience with Slingcatcher, to further help you decide.

                     

                    I have a Slingbox Pro-HD in the UK, and I stream to my home in Istanbul which is about 2500km away.

                     

                    I have an upload speed in the UK of around 1700-1800kbps and I get a streaming speed of around 1600-1700kbps so I don't see the latency issues reported by the earlier poster - I can only assume this effect must kick in at a greater distance or at higher upload speeds. I hope to upgrade my UK connection to fibre at some point so it will be interesting to see if I start to see this effect. Anyway, the speed is good enough for decent SD (640 x 480) but it stutters if I set the Slingcatcher to the 1280 x 540, which is its maximum resolution (By the way, I haven't seen the 1024 x 768 option mentioned by the OP - I can only see 320 x 200, 640 x 200, 640 x 480 and 1280 x 540).

                     

                    The hardware itself is good and for me it hugely improves the end-to-end Slingbox experience. Whereas before it often wasn't worth the hassle of fiddling about on the PC to change channels (if the PC is connected to the TV) or wasn't a family-friendly viewing experience all crowding round the laptop/PC the Slingcatcher solved all these issues.

                     

                    It's a shame it is discontinued as I can't see how they can better the experience without it being quite complicated (Boxee/Google TV + Slingplayer for connected devices + Universal remote control.....a bit much for the average user I expect) but I guess commercial reasons must have forced that and so now of course they do go for exhorbitant prices on eBay etc, but if you can get hold of one at a price you are comfortable with then I can fully recommend it if you are looking for a better experience watching your "Slung" content on your TV.