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How does Slingbox work?

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Quick Answer

Slingbox is an AV device that works by compressing the TV signal and making it available for users to access via an Internet connection. This lets users watch TV programs on a computer or a smartphone after connecting the device to the set-top box, TV and home network.

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Full Answer

The Slingbox is a device that streams local video over the Internet so that a viewer can watch TV anywhere using a laptop, tablet or smartphone. It compresses the audio-video signal, making it available in any room of the home or around the world using a high-speed Internet connection.

In order to use the Slingbox, homeowners need to connect it to a video source in their property, such as a cable box, set-top box, DVD player or DVR, and they need to have a broadband Internet connection. The Slingbox utilizes patented technology called SlingStream that monitors the Internet connection constantly and makes immediate adjustments to ensure the video stream is of the highest quality available for the bandwidth of the network. Using this technology means there should be no jumping or pauses in the video stream.

Users need to install the SlingPlayer on their desired viewing device. The app displays an identical image of the TV's remote, making it just as easy to control the TV from another room or country as it does from the couch. Users can then watch TV on their mobile devices as if they are at home.

Slingbox 500, Slingbox 350 and the Slingbox PRO-HD models let users watch TV content through the Slingbox website. Older models, including Slingbox Classic and Slingbox AV, require the use of the desktop version of SlingPlayer for computers that run on a Mac OS or a Windows operating system. Although the SlingPlayer app is not compatible with smart TVs as of 2015, users can still watch Slingbox on smart TVs by using a streaming device such as Roku or Chromecast.

Slingbox lets users watch different programs on the TV and the remote device, but this only works if the Slingbox is connected to a secondary set-top box that is not in use at that moment. Another downside is that the remote viewing functionality is limited to only one device. Users can access Slingbox from a different country provided they have a broadband Internet connection. Slingbox is also capable of displaying an image of the remote control device on the screen, allowing users to control the DVR functionality from a computer or smartphone.

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