The Sky+ lets us time shift our TV watching, and the Slingbox adds a new dimension: place shifting. It turns the video output from the Sky+ into a stream of IP data that we can watch anywhere in the house, or anywhere there's an Internet connection (once I punch the appropriate holes in the firewall). It also means I don't have to run extra cabling round the house, or spend money on additional Sky subscriptions.
It's a fine example of appliance design - simple software, easy to understand instructions, just a few connectors, and underneath it all a device that's doing something rather complex.
All I had to do was plug the box into the house network, hook up a couple of IR emitters, and plug the Slingbox into the Sky+'s S-video output. Once I installed the software on a PC (Mac and mobile versions are available), a wizard walked me through configuration and video stream optimisation, and, well, there it was, working.
One neat feature is the on-screen remote, which looks just like, and works just like, a Sky+ remote. So I can use the EPG, and even watch stored programmes (even if I keep trying to click on the screen). I'll even be able to program the box when we're on the road...