My first exposure to SlingBox occured while I was a student at the university. One day while sitting through an electrical engineering lecture, a student in front of me opened up his laptop and watched a live major league baseball game -- in high definition. The quality impressed me enough to research the technology he was using: SlingBox. Now I must admit I am not an avid television viewer -- most of the TV I watch in a year takes place while I'm on vacation visiting relatives (I don't even own a TV). I do watch some shows occasionally online, but for the most part I would rather write code than watch TV.
However, I recently moved to a new apartment that has extended cable TV built into the monthly rental fee. Absolutely ridiculous. Since I have to pay for it, I will definitely find a way to use it. This reminded me of SlingBox. As I reviewed some of the content on the SlingBox site, I found that I have several questions:
1. The SlingBox that I remember from years ago had more of a manual configuration (e.g. you specified a hostname or IP address to connect and then your router was setup to port fortward/trigger to the SlingBox. The new documentation I've found online seems to reference an online Sling service that makes it easier to connect for non-technical users. Is the direct connection option still available (e.g. for someone like me who doesn't want to use the Sling online service to facilitate the connection?)
2. I always assumed that the software for viewing the SlingBox was free....but after reading the website it seems like you have to pay for it separately?? I would like clarification as to whether this is true.
3. It is my understanding that a SlingBox will only allow one concurrent WAN connection (viewer), but multiple (limit?) LAN users are permitted?
4. Assuming question (3) is correct, can one setup the SlingBox to stream video at different qualities based on the connection (e.g. if I connect from WAN remotely, is the SlingBox smart enough to see that my connection is best for SD, whereas if I connect from my LAN it will use HD -- automatically? Or is only one quality level permitted to be enabled at any given time and every connection (regardless of LAN/WAN) uses the same quality?
5. Is the SlingBox protocol open/documented for consumption? At a higher level, I am assuming it uses UDP?
6. If the SlingBox protocol is not open I would like to know whether the SlingBox is compatible with IPv6?
7. Are the ports that clients use to connect to the SlingBox configurable. E.g. I see a lot of references to port 5000 online -- is there a way to configure that port (within the SlingBox device) to something like 8776 without having to rely on router port mappings?
8. The IR device for controlling channels is interesting. If it breaks, are replacements available? Must replacements be purchased from Sling or will any IR diode work?
9. I'm assuming the IR device does not work with every receiver. Is there a list of supported receivers? If a device is not supported, can users program the device to add support?
10. Please comment on the hardware quality. I've come across some user reviews that indicate hardware failures. I realize the responses from this forum will be biased, but I would like to hear your experiences (good and bad). Is there any warranty?
Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your knowledge.