3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 2, 2013 6:13 PM by chakkarinen RSS

    Many SlingBox questions from a prospective buyer

    adamforum

      Hello all,

       

      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.

       

      Adam

        • Re: Many SlingBox questions from a prospective buyer
          alanrichey42 Master

          HI Adam

          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?)

          No, Sling have now designed it so you are forced to operate through their servers.

          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.

          The PC and Mac software is free, in fact you just watch it through the browser.  And there are some boxes that are fitted with Slingplayer (Boxee, WDTV...   (bit not Roku) so they are free as well, but Sling do charge for mobile viewers (iOS, Android).

          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?

          No only one person can watch on a LAN as well.   The quality level is set automatically, although you can force an SD connection if you wish on the mobile platforms.

          5.  Is the SlingBox protocol open/documented for consumption?  At a higher level, I am assuming it uses UDP?

          No, the Company operate a very secretive policy on all the technical details.  Anything in the public domain has been figured out by outside experts.

          6.  If the SlingBox protocol is not open I would like to know whether the SlingBox is compatible with IPv6?

          No idea I'm afraid.

          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?

          Yes and No.   The older Slingboxes would pick a logical port, such as 5000 but you could force a change.  The newer Slingboxes (350/500) go for Port 5201 and you are stuck with that.

          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?

            You can purchase replacements from Sling,  I have never come across any comments by people trying others.  But again, this applies only to the older models, the 350/500 use an internal IR transmitter that is part of the box so probably not user repairable.

          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?

          Have a look at http://support.slingbox.com/get/KB-5000164.    If a device is not supported you can request it be added, but that will take a coupole of months.  Otherwise I can normally build a Custom Remote for you provided it is in the Logitech Harmony database at http://www.logitech.com/harmony/components.  

          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?

          I have a number of Slingboxes and have NEVER experienced a hardware failure.  On the other hand you will see a number of postings on here from users who complain their box failed and say the quality must be poor because of that.   But we all know that electrical devices occasionally break and based on the number of Slingboxes sold and the level of complaints I have seen on this forum I would say they are amongst the best around.   It has a standard warranty, but the BIG downside is that they only offer free technical support for 90 days, after that you have to pay.   But there is always this forum

           

          Hope that helps

           

          Al

            • Re: Many SlingBox questions from a prospective buyer
              adamforum

              Alan,

               

              Thank you for your insights.  My apologies for merely marking your answer as "helpful".  I had intended to mark it both "helpful" and "correct answer", but after marking it "helpful", the option of declaring it the "correct answer" vanished.

               

              I would love to play with a SlingBox, but based on  your response there seem to be even more limitations than I was initially aware of -- I'm not certain it is flexible enough to meet my needs.

               

              Thank you again,

               

              Adam

                • Re: Many SlingBox questions from a prospective buyer
                  chakkarinen Apprentice

                  I have not had any problems with my Slingbox 350, but the power supply (brick) for my older Slingbox Pro HD has been a problem.    And I have seen several posts in the forum about failures of these power suppplies.   If still under warranty, Slingbox has replaced them for free.   If out of warranty, replacements can be purchased from Slingbox or third parties.   I consider the problem to be related to the rather high amperage (4+ amps @ 5 volts) rating required by the power adapter of those older models -- many folks have mistakenly attached third-party replacement adapters with lower amperage ratings.   I also found that my older Slingbox Pro HD would run physically hot to the touch on its case, so I went to much effort to insure good air flow circulation around the unit in my attempt to prevent overheating.