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December 16th, 2008

Sling caught

We’ve been playing with the Slingcatcher recently. This is the answer to the question most people ask as soon as you tell them about the Slingbox: yes, but how do I get it onto my TV?

Take Sky. You can get a multi-room subscription and buy a second box (or use the box you had left over after you upgraded to Sky+ or Sky HD), but that’s only worth it if you have enough people in the house to want to watch two shows at the same time. With two of us, we’d just like to take Sky up into the bedroom sometimes. And when we designed the loft extension, we put in CAT 6 cabling – but not a phone line. With DECT phones, who needs the extra wire? Well, the Sky box does, because it has to be able to phone home.

BlueDelta does a handy little gadget that lets you control the Sky box with a Sky remote from another room, but it takes the Sky commands and sends the output of the Sky box over coax. And that would mean getting coax from the living room to the bedroom. We did put in a TV aerial point in the bedroom for Freeview, but we didn’t route it through the rest of the house: it was bad enough putting the Ethernet patch through the cloakroom ceiling... And we already have a gigabyte Ethernet cable going into the front room (for which I bought the really big cable installers drill bit). Surely an IP connection is the way to go? Well, it is now.

The Slingcatcher doesn’t give you HD, but we don’t have an HD TV upstairs. And the Slingcatcher signal is just fine for the 18” LCD TV in the bedroom, instead of balancing a laptop between us on the bed. Now to get used to the remote control being that much slower, because it has to send the signal back down over the network...

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