Thanks for reaching out to us here, that's a great question! I would recommend taking a look at the following article for a detailed comparison:
Hope this answers your inquiry, please reply back if necessary!
The Sling Moderation Team
Hi There KWhit,
Thanks for the reply.
My question though kind of really goes towards use of the community.... let me explain.
For me looking at the "should I upgrade" I dont see much improvement for most of my uses except the 1080p vs 1080i. This to me points to better compression capability, but maybe not. On another page I noticed that the recommended bandwidth for the HD PRO vs the 500 was fairly different recommending a much higher bandwidth for the 500 than for the HD PRO.
When I upgraded from the origional to the HD PRO there was a SIGNIFFICANT difference in its ability to upload data, its compression (I guess) was much better as was its ability to stream media. It was able to achieve higher KBs speeds without any changes to the network. I had about 3x better speeds with the HD PRO vs my origional which for me is a significant reason to upgrade.... As I am sure you can understand this information is not available through the tech sheets or the forum "should I upgrade". I am sure that there is a push by the community to allow more "in house" uses.... streaming to iPad's and secondary TV's will allow for a much easier setup in the home allowing for media to be "shared". My Primary/Only use of the unit at this point is to stream sports and programming when I am travelling, which as a pilot is often. I stream to my laptop when in various places in the world, HKG, throughout the US and others. For me the only reason to upgrade at this point would be so that I could have faster streaming speeds in either better compression or a much more capable eithernet capability. This is the information I was trying to glean from the community.
If you guys have both and are able (assuming that you are a sling representative), it would be great if you could do some basic benchmark tests using the same source and internet and test it out for me , then let me know.
If not, no worries.
Ok, I extensively tested both the old Pro-HD and the new Slingbox 350 which has equivalent streaming quality to the 500.
I can tell you that if you have the stable bandwidth then the Best (HD) setting is significantly better than the best the Pro-HD can offer. It's particularly good for watching sports as the new boxes can stream at 50 or 60fps at the highest setting. This makes a huge difference and makes it pretty much the same as watching sport on regular TV with all the smoothness we take for granted.
However, the mode your box outputs HDMI (1080i or 720p) and the device you view the stream on both affect the required bandwidth.
My setup is a UK Sky+ HD box and I find the best compromise for me is to set it to output 1080i (which makes sense as this matches Sky's HD broadcasts so no scaling is required) and then choose Best (HD). Viewed on a PC this yields a 50fps silky smooth stream at 1920 x 1080 (though the compression makes it seem a bit less in all honesty) and uses around 3-3.5mbps of bandwidth. This has transformed my watching of Sky Sports here 2500kms away, though my local bandwidth issues means I can't always get this stream in a stable manner. Interestingly, if you view through a WDTV Live device using the Slingplayer on that, I can get what appears to be the same quality (maybe a tiny bit less) but the bandwidth used is more like 2.5mbps. Either way, this is way better than anything I ever got from my Pro-HD - in particular it's great to finally lose that frequent 'judder' effect during fast moving scenes (common when watching Sport!) that I always got even when there was enough bandwidth.
Drop down to lower quality settings (still with 1080i output from your box) and you revert to 25/30fps and it's more like the Pro-HD again - although still without the judder effect. Instead of the judder effect it's more of a brief pixelation during fast moving scenes. It's better IMO. I don't think the bandwidth usage at 640 x 480 is much different to the Pro-HD, certainly it's not significantly more, if at all. In my experience.
Interestingly, If I switch my Sky box to output 720p50 then all the resolutions except the minimum come across at 50fps but seemingly all use considerably more bandwidth than my 1080i stream, seemingly consuming whatever is available up to 8mbps.
Overall though, I couldn't be happier with the new boxes. I'm as big a critic of Sling as anyone (just search my posts!) but from a technical and performance point of view I think they have pretty much got the new boxes spot on, especially if you watch a lot of sports.