Archive for February, 2007

Slingbox Success Story

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

A friend of mine is from New Orleans, and is a huge Saints fan. The weekend they were in the championship game, we were headed to Tahoe with our families, and staying in a house with no TV reception. He threatened to leave early, to get home in time for the game. What to do?

We didn’t even have a broadband internet connection. But we did have a decent cellphone signal, and I have an EVDO phone that I can connect to my laptop. And I have a Slingbox at home. Aha!

Challenge number one: the cell tower wasn’t upgraded to EVDO, so we were stuck with 1xRTT which is much slower. I was seeing about 100Kbps sustained throughput. Fortunately, Slingbox is very good at optimizing available bandwidth, so the picture was okay, although a bit blurry (hard to read the time remaining) and blocky when moving fast. Sound was great, which helps a lot.

Challenge number two: nobody wants to watch the game on the computer, we want to watch on the big screen. Fortunately I have a Mac, which has TV-out. I also carry cables to hook the Mac into the stereo as well as the TV, so we had good sound and good picture.

Challenge number three: my home cable service was inadvertently cut the day we headed up there. So, Slingbox working great, but no TV signal at all. This was stumper. I scoured the internet for other streaming services that could get us the game, but aside from a few questionable-looking sites, I couldn’t find anything.

When all else fails, try asking someone else. I posted a question on LinkedIn Answers. Within an hour, I got two folks from my network offering to let me connect to their Slingboxes. Problem solved!

I connected to a Slingbox that happened to be located in Atlanta. He had a Comcast DVR hooked up, so we could even rewind and fast forward if we wanted, although it was a bit slow to respond. The whole thing worked almost flawlessly, and we forgot at times that we were watching over a pretty slow network connection.

My friend was ecstatic to watch the game, although his ecstasy soon turned to agony. We will be up there again Superbowl weekend, so we’ll have a chance to try it again, although this time it should be our own Slingbox. Now to hook the Slingbox up to the Media Center PC, so I can get my recorded shows…