It's "Game 5" and your team is in the championship - but then you need to run to the store to pick up some more root beer, what are you going to do? Or maybe you're away from home and want to watch your favorite show with your wife together even though it's 11 pm on the East Coast and she's back in California. These are two very real situations where conventional TV really has no answer for us but they can be fixed with Slingbox as I've discovered this week.
Honestly I'm not sure why these features still haven't been fully integrated into every standard cable box by now. Instead, it seems like the networks throw up barriers in the form of limitations such as only being able to watch remotely when connected to your WiFi or cost by charging more to simply be able to watch the TV you've ALREADY PAID FOR!
However, it came in very handy at the IZEAfest conference that I recently attended. Typically attending a conference means I don't have the ability to follow my favorite teams but in this case I could actually hang out while enjoying a beverage, chatting with friends and watch TV. To some that may sound antisocial, but what I found was that it actually was a great way to make new friends as people gather around stuff they love.
The concept is simple. Slingbox500 sits between your cable box and TV, so that it can encode and then "sling" (stream) the content through you Internet connection to your phone, tablet, laptop, or even another remote TV that has a streaming device such as chromecast or roku. Quality is a full 1080p, so you don't have to worry about it being fuzzy on the other end. (However, due to Internet connection issues the quality may not be as high as originally intended.)
Configuring the Slingbox 500 was easy and it can use wired or wireless Internet. You can also plug a USB drive into the Slingbox so you can stream photos and movies.
Even though it is designed to allow you to watch TV remotely, I find the experience of navigating local programming superior to what is provided by my cable company (Cox Cable), so that was a nice benefit too.
For those of us who love watching sports on TV but get frustrated by local blackouts, Slingbox is a godsend. Since you are connecting to the TV source in your home market, this means that I don't need to worry about finding the Charger's or Padres game on TV when I'm out of town.
Additionally, since Slingbox can also access your DVR you can potentially even record the game to watch later.
Of course, other features included in Slingbox include a very easy to use program guide, a portal to access YouTube videos from a variety of different sites including ESPN, check on live sports scores in the gallery, and then after the game see what movies are on without having to flip through the whole guide.
Slingbox500 can be purchased for $299 by visiting slingbox.com or heading on over to Amazon.com. Since there are no monthly fees and the mobile apps are free (ad supported), that's all you will need to buy to start having the freedom to watch TV wherever you want.