Your questions are quite reasonable. Let's see if we can sort them out...
1. Do I HAVE to have a receiver? Can I hook the SB up to a TV with a built in tuner that is wired straight coax from the source?
Slingbox Solo Connections - Click to Enlarge
What you are required to have is a video source that is compatible with the Solo's inputs. This means something that can feed it a signal over Composite (yellow RCA plug), S-Video, or Component (red/green/blue HD cables). This could be a VCR, DVD player/recorder, cable box, security camera, properly equipped computer, iPod... anything that outputs a signal in one of those three formats.
So- if your TV has VIDEO OUT and the wire fits in the right holes, it should work fine. Same concept applies to audio by the way.
What I just covered applies to watching. Controlling is another matter. The Solo does not have its own tuner so it depends on the source for those functions. If your source can be controlled from an infrared remote- and it's on the supported sources list- it can send IR commands to the source device to do channel changes and stuff like that. If your source is not on the list, there are some other options but we can go into that in another post or thread.
To be clear, channel changes and the like are not handled inside the Solo. It only slings what it is fed.
2. Can the SB be hooked up to a PC Cable Tuner Card?
Sure, as long as the Tuner card has an appropriate VIDEO OUT connection. Think of the PC + Tuner card just like your TV question above.
You may run into problems with IR control though if you have a Windows PC or a Linux box. It all depends on what hardware and software you're running. Macs from 2005 and newer are very easy to set up in this way and have great Slingbox support.
We only have 1 digital cable receiver in the house, and the rest of the TV's are just straight coax, but do have HD TV Tuner cards in the TV's as they are new TV's. Any ideas?
- The Solo should be able to connect and control your digital cable box. If you hook that up on component in addition to a second source on composite/S-Video, you get to sling both. You can flip between the inputs inside SlingPlayer. Note that the cable box would be shared with the TV so whatever is showing there will show over Sling. If you want to watch a different channel, you'll have to flip over to the second source.
- Since you can run straight coax to the TVs, you almost certainly have analog basic channels as part of your cable service. An alternative to using a TV as the source would be a cheap VCR or DVD recorder. Those have tuners on board, plus you can record and watch later over Slingbox if you want. I have analog basic cable hooked up to a Philips DVD/Hard Disk recorder, it slings fine and being able to record is mighty handy. No monthly DVR fees either.
- If the Tuner PCs are running Windows MCE, I think you can control that from Slingbox. It would work about the same as the iMac I mentioned.
Hope this helps !
Personally, I'd recommend one of two options:
-time-share the digital reciever, but understand you may have a "battle" if someone is on the computer while someone else is watching the TV in person
or what I did for a short time
-connect the SOLO to a VCR or DVD unit that has a built-in cable tuner. You may already have one but if not you should be able to find a low-end unit really cheap, maybe as little as $20.