Slingbox 500 Review – Totally Worth It?

Well, we are a TV-generation whether somebody likes it or not. However, we are rapidly becoming the mobile-generation, especially the ones after the 2000s, using devices on-the-go to access all modes of life. What happens when mobile & TV are combined? You get a hardware that lets you access your devices remotely. Well, this is where Slingbox 500 makes the entry. It’s incredibly easy and fun to setup and use, in most cases, takes only a couple minutes to set up.

Slingbox 500 ports

If you are here, you are probably looking for a detailed review on SlingBox 500 and have questions in mind like, is it worth it or not? Does it offer value for money or not? And pros and cons generally. Well, calm down. You are going to get all your questions answered right here.

The Slingbox 500 is company’s attempt to retake the market. This affordable device lets you stream 1080p content from your smartphone to wherever you are in the world. However, the company has added some new features too.

Design

It has a unique shape. The dimensions include 11.4 x 4.9 x 2.2 inches, one corner on each end is higher than the other one, creating a wave-likea model on top. It’s good and unique, but you can’t place any devices on top of it. The front right corner is made of translucent black plastic that has a beautiful Slingbox logo that only glows when the device is on.

The back includes an IR blaster input, Ethernet, component inputs and outputs and HDMI port. The device also includes a USB port to connect an external device.

The package also includes an HDMI cable, remote control,and batteries. Other cables that include are one composite, component, IR blaster,and Ethernet cables. However, you don’t have to use the latter two as SlingBox 500 has a built-in Wi-Fi and a few IR-transmitters too.

Setup

Slingbox 500 is designed to be a pass-throughthe device. You just connect your cable box to the Slingbox which is then connected to your TV. Doesn’t matter if the Slingbox is off, you can still watch TV.

After setting up the connection, when you turn on the set, Slingbox setup screen pops up. You also have the option to chose between Ethernet or Wi-Fi. It gets a little annoying to use a virtual keyboard using the remote control for choosing your cable network but Sling ensures you have to do it the least possible times.

AlthoughSlingbox supports HDMI, some content can’t be streamed through HDMI and for this, Sling also advises using component cables.

All in all, it takes about 30 minutes to complete the whole setup procedure, including creating your free Sling account.

Performance

Using the web-based interface on a laptop, the cable connection streams in no time. I loved the least possible options interface and the unique replication of remote on screen. Still, there are a few things that can be improved. For example, its hard to set your favorite channels, instead of simply hitting the heart icon, you have to type the channel number in a small in the lower right corner.

Sling Projector

Just like the previous SlingCatcher, the new Slingbox 500 also includes a feature called SlingProjector. This projector lets you stream photos from your iOS straight to your TV and works as quick as your iOS device itself.

It can also stream videos. However, I would love if this feature was added for desktop interface too so we could stream photos and videos stored on our laptop/mac too.

USB Support

Just like Sling’s previous model, SlingBox 500 also includes a USB port that lets you connect an external device and watch its content on your TV.

SlingSync is also available that amazingly helps you backup your personal media from mobile devices to a USB connected external device.

TV Interface

Now the Slingbox 500 has an on-TV interface that can be activated by pressing the Sling button on the built-in remote control provided in the package.

TV Interface

You get five options: TV Resolution, Live TV, Input, Network and About. Most of these let you change settings, an option view content on USB device is also available.

The App

The app (available on iOS and Android, same rates) costs $29 but can also be purchased for $15 for a limited time. Using the app, Sling keeps all controls hidden until you tap on the screen.

You can swipe up and down on your phone’s display to change channels unlike on web-browser interface which was a bit annoying and time taking.

It’s a lot easier to add your favorite channels via the app as compared to the online interface. A screen pops up, showing all the available channels and you just have to tap the heart next to each channel to move them into the list of favorite channels.

The App

However, the favorite channels were synced with your phone and not with your desktop interface, something they can take care after a few complaints.

When you tap the display, you get options like favorites, guide, DVR, remote, options,and quality. Volume is also added below.

After logging in to your app account, streaming starts right away and the audio is also well synced. However, on the iPad, there was a little trouble. The video would stream for a few seconds and the screen would go black and then start streaming again. The sequence repeats.

Though, when you switch from 2.4GHZ to 5GHZ on iPad, video streams real smooth.

Pros

  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Built-in IR blasters
  • Smooth 1080p streaming.

Cons

  • Smartphone and Tablet apps cost extra
  • A little expensive.

Verdict

Whenever you want to purchase a device like SlingBox 500, making the right decision is always the hardest and most confusing.

It might be a little hard to assign a final rating to SlingBox 500 as there are a lot of amazing features available and a lot yet to be included.

As far as, streaming HD content from TV to mobile phone is concerned, it does its job perfectly. In terms of ease of use, I would prefer using the mobile app rather than the desktop interface which is much easy to use and navigate.

Overall, it’s a great, premium place-shifter with a unique design that truly offers you value in return for the money you spend.

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