Last Chance! We’re Giving Away $50,000! Enter Now. See Official Rules

Bits & Bytes

Most Popular


Review: Slingbox Pro-HD

How to watch your TV anywhere, anytime

How it works

We took the top-of-the-line Slingbox PRO-HD ($299.99;, which lets you watch high-definition content, for a spin. The standard-definition model, the Slingbox SOLO, costs $189.99.

The Slingbox device resembles a large candy bar, which you connect to your set-top TV box at home, as well as your high-speed Internet connection. In other words, the Slingbox is a liaison between your TV and broadband Internet service. You can also plug other components, such as a DVD player or camcorder, into the back of the Slingbox and control them remotely. (To change channels remotely, however, you must also place a small "IR blaster" in front of your TV receiver, near where you point your remote. The other end of the IR blaster plugs into the Slingbox.)

If you don't have your high-speed modem in the same room as your television, you will need to buy an inexpensive "network bridge," which uses your electrical outlets to connect the Slingbox to your modem in another room. A Slingbox-branded product called SlingLink TURBO (from $79.99) also performs this function.

Downloadable applications ("apps") also are available for multiple smartphone operating systems — namely, Apple's iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, as well as BlackBerry, Google's Android and Windows Phone 7 — so that you can watch your local, live TV on the handheld devices. Called SlingPlayer Mobile, each app costs $29.99.

You can install this software on as many computers, smartphones or tablets as you like, but only one computer can communicate with your television at one time.

Using the Slingbox

Changing channels works well by using the mouse to click on numbers (or your fingertips for smartphones and tablets), or you can easily create custom shortcut buttons that run along the bottom of the SlingPlayer software.

You also can pull up your television's electronic program guide (EPG) to see what's on the television and set the DVR to record. Video quality is good, especially with the Slingbox PRO-HD (over the SOLO), as it can handle up to 1080i high-def video streams.

Do note, however, that if others in your home are watching the same Slingbox-connected television, they will see the channels change on their television, too. Yes, you may find yourself fighting for the remote 3,000 miles away! For this reason, you might choose to install the Slingbox on a secondary television.

Another small beef: It's too bad the Slingbox models don't have built-in Wi-Fi, because many folks don't have their high-speed Internet connection in the same room as their television. It would've been a lot more convenient if the Slingbox could wirelessly join a home network.

Overall, however, Slingbox PRO-HD is an excellent compliment to your home theater — especially if you spend any time away for business or recreation. This product is ideal for "snowbirds" who flock to the south every winter. If you don't have a high-definition setup at home, the less-costly Slingbox SOLO is fine, but those who want better clarity will appreciate the quality of video delivered by the Slingbox PRO-HD.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go


How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go


Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go


Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today


computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss


Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss