If you fancy having the ability to watch your television in another room or maybe in a hotel room across the other side of the world, then the Slingbox PRO might be for you. But can the new Slingbox PRO build on the success of the first unit? We get watching, remotely of course, to find out.
The Slingbox PRO, like the original Slingbox, allows you to watch and control your home cable, satellite or digital video recorder (DVR) anywhere you can access the Internet and comes with improved streaming capabilities up to 8Mbps, support for widescreen playback, accepts inputs from high definition set-top boxes, and includes a Freeview decoder as standard.
Amongst a barrage of wires you basically connect your Sky box, DVD player and anything else you can think of (up to four devices in total) to the thin red box and away you go.
The Slingbox PRO includes four distinct A/V inputs, each with audio: aerial, S-Video and composite video inputs and outputs as well as an HD component connection for HD set-top box customers via the included HD Connect cable.
Once connected to the relevant boxes, you'll need to connect it to your router, no Wi-Fi unfortunately, and then it's on to setting up the software.
Software, which is currently available for PC, Mac, Windows Mobile 6 and Symbian S60 handsets (with the promise of BlackBerry support coming) takes about 5 minutes to run through the set-up and involves making sure that all the devices are talking to the Slingbox.
Designed especially for the UK market, the Slingbox PRO features an integrated PAL analogue/digital tuner with DVB-T support that means you can watch Freeview programming from your aerial connection without having to change the channel on the set-top box that someone in your living room might actually be watching.
Where the system comes into its own is being able to watch programmes already saved on Sky+, as you have complete control over the box.
Being stuck in a hotel in a foreign country with no TV but a decent internet connection and you can see the appeal of being able to catch up with the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy that you have recorded.
As for the quality, it's top notch. We've so far had no problems connecting into our Slingbox PRO be it on the same network, a different Wi-Fi network, via the Starbucks up the road and most impressively on our 3G card, although we aren't looking forward to the bill at the end of the month.
Although the set-up does require you to pay attention to make sure you've plugged everything in correctly and will leave even more wires dangling behind your TV stand, the results are worth the effort if you want to watch your TV elsewhere be it in a Wi-Fi hotspot or merely in another room.
There are catches of course, especially if you've only got the one Sky+ box (you could easily be caught watching porn for example when in another country), but overall we love it.