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Where's the Video?
Everybody makes a big deal about streaming video to their cell phone - but not about how most of the time it's stuff you don't want to watch.That's where the Slingbbox comes in, because what's streaming from your Dish Network satellite receiver at home is stuff you WANT to see. But unless you have a laptop working, you can forget it. Wouldn't it be great if you could just pull out your iPod Touch and stream your live or recorded programs to it? Oh - you can. It's called Slingplayer Mobile and it's at the App Store.
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Hardware and App Combine
The Slingbox works through the Dish satellite receiver to both control and stream the video that has been recorded on the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). But by having the Slingplayer app for the Touch (instead of being forced to use a laptop), control becomes easier and more intimate. Not to mention optimizing the image for the iPhone's quality, if smaller than a laptop, screen. Support for widescreen means your HD recordings don't get cut down, and maneuvering through your recordings doesn't cause your head to explode. And since it's through WiFi there's no problems with cell networks or any of that nonsense.
The best part of all this revolves around the app and how it duplicates the experience you have using the remote at home. So you're not fumbling all over the place because your body memory knows what to do. And of course having touch screen use is obvious, but in this case it also improves on the ease of use. There's room for improvement, but that's just another example of why an app is so superior to hardware buttons or even software - updates can be zipped into place with enormous ease.
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App Beats Software
Of course none of this comes free: satellite TV costs money, the Slingbox costs money (especially as it's the newer models supporting these functions) and the app costs too. But sometimes the cliché that you get what you pay for applies. It does here. Because the video looks good - good enough not just to put up with, but to enjoy.
Hardware devices that make life easier are always appreciated - be they satellite TV or a device that streams video to wherever you are over the Internet. But having the control as an app not only means that Dish gets it - but that watching video that you really want to see whenever you want is just a pull of the Touch away.
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- Images provided by author.
- Author's own experience.