I wanted to put out a seperate post to explain my success story regarding a quality issue I was having with my Slingbox 500. I've read numerous forum posts and tried to follow instructions that customer service has suggested but with no success. I am hoping that this may help others and or give a little incite to Sling.
Comcast Cable with Motorola RNG200N dvr/hd box
Slingbox 500 (Slingbox Software Version: 01.05.492) - ported and wired to home network
Pioneer VSX-1021 Receiver
Sansung 7100 series TV
Comcast hooked up hdmi and component to slingbox (per slingbox suggested setup)
Slingbox to Receiver via hdmi
Receiver to TV via hdmi
When connected this way I do receive a video and audio connection and everything is setup properly within my network. The problem is my quality within my own network was grainy and low quality sd at best. I have a fast internet speed (18d/6up) and also read that quality should not suffer when watching in your own network (only needs a internet connection to get started on sling's online watch plugin).
We tried resetting the sling to factory conditions and re-installing the software (this fixed an earlier chipmunk audio problem we had with one of the updates). We tried reestablishing the ports and re-doing all the network settings. I actually first had the sling 500 wireless and chose to wire my connection to establish a stronger link to my network.
Then one day fed up with all this tried unplugging one cable at a time to see if there was any problems with a single cable (this can happen if you have power outages, defective wiring, chewed wiring, etc...)
When we unplugged the hdmi cable between the cable box and the slingbox BOOM,Voilà,Success!. We now have HD signal. I decided to test this theory by having a friend with horrible down/up stream (1.5/700kb) to test my away connection. crystal clear HD...(slightly grainy at full screen, but I blame the downstream).
So now all I have to is unplug my HDMI cable from either my cable box or the sling to use my slingbox. Now some may say why don't you just eliminate the hdmi and go component to the reciever and tv and then no unplugging necessary. Why this may be a viable option to some...I'm still using my 1 component input that I have on my tv for my wii. Most TV's these days are throwing 4-5 hdmi inputs and all but eliminating the RCA and component connections.
I understand this concept may still not solve everyone's problems with their sling media which is why I included all of my connections and detailed list of setup.
Here's an explanation from slingplayer of why my problem occured http://support.slingbox.com/get/kb-5000188.html
The difference is sling tells us to hookup the component cable with the hdmi to avoid the problem when what actually is happening is the hdmi just being plugged in to/from the cable box distorts the quality. The only nuisance with my unplug/plug hdmi solution is I have to reattach the hdmi when I want to actually watch TV on my TV since the signal is flowing through both the sling and receiver to my TV.
I don't mind doing this as I now can enjoy my sling with a simple (slightly annoying) solution but I still have complaints.
My message to Sling Media:
Why does slingbox continue to create products that the consumer will never be able to use? The first slingplayer pro I had came with a nice "eye candy" usb input. They teased us with the possiblity that one day we would be able to use it to attach hard drives and stream our own content then retracted that offer and said no we're not going to do an update (but you can buy the newer version that will have that available). In comes the slingbox 500. I dove right in like a good little consumer and upgraded because now i'll get to stream from my hard drive and get hdmi and wireless. But wait: we're sorry there's a little thing called hdcp compliance that protects the cable companies and production companies from you sharing their stuff. While slingbox is able to work around some of these restrictions without legal action, the compliancy still creates a nuisance.
There is simply no use of the HDMI for purposes of streaming your cable through your own network or away. The truth is cable companies want you to rent their boxes for your home (they make a lot of money on the rentals) and slingbox simply gives the consumer a work around to avoid having to rent these boxes for multi room use (assuming you are the user in both rooms and not needing two different channels at the same time). If you had a computer/smart tv with access to slingplayer you would not need a box (there goes 2-20 dollars a month; per month comcast box rental). So sling is being fought all the way because your taking money away from them.
I may put the blame on cable lobbyists, production companies, FCC for blocking the ease of use of full functionality of hdmi but I don't blame them for the lack of effort in slingbox to offer a product that helps their consumers:
1.) Don't build devices with limited use options. Can't use hdmi still? Don't put it on your product. Wait till you've successfully worked around the hdcp compliancy issue, even if that means joining the fight on the other side to reduce limitations).
2.) Get on the ball and start building more apps for the Smart TV. You're only on LG Google TV's. Build apps for the new Chromecast, roku, smart tv apps, etc... We need ways to use your device on tv's within home networks. We can't go watch on your online player on a TV because we can't download the stupid plugin. App Development is lacking in your company and needs to be expanded. Other companies and Cable providers are already right behind you in creating ways to put you out of business and offer products to be competitve and this is a simple move to enhance peoples sling viewing in their homes.
3.) What is with the delay on being able to stream my media via the connected usb device AWAY FROM MY NETWORK!!!
I don't understand why you released the 500 and keep rolling out updates on the software that opens up more accessiblity to what should have been available at release. People have been waiting on this since your very first product came out and that "eye candy" usb sat their staring at us while you planned your new device.
Companies are finally catching up with you Sling and your displeasing at least one of your long time consumers with the slugish movement on product availability via software upgrades (intentially or non intentially). Make some moves!