It’s great having access to so much content on your tablet or smartphone these days – especially all the video on demand services such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer and the like. But when you pay for cable and have all of your own content recorded on your TiVo / DVR – then sometimes it is preferable to be able to watch your own tv – with everything how you like it.
Well, this is totally possible. I am currently in France and have been watching my home tv back in the UK without a problem – and no need to set up a VPN. All you need is a nice little device called a Slingbox.
There are a number of different models – more in the US than in the UK.. and I have the Slingbox Pro HD. It’s about two years old. Currently, the Slingbox Pro HD retails for £150 on Amazon.
It’s dead easy to set up too. You simply place it between your cable/satellite box so that the video signals pass through the Slingbox. You can also set up some small IR transmitters near each device (TiVo box, Sky+ etc) that will allow you to completely control your home video system from wherever you are.
You then need to download the iPad / iPhone app which used to be really expensive, but the price has dropped and it is now £10.49.
When you first install the mobile device, you just need to make sure that you are on the same network as the Slingbox so that it can register it’s details. Once you have done so.. you are good to go.
Everything works amazingly well – the quality of the stream is automatically adjusted (be default) and will even work on your iPhone over 3G if you like.
I especially like how they provide you with the correct remote control for your system – for example, if you have Sky in the UK you will use a Sky remote. I have Virgin Media and so I get an exact replica of the remote for them. You can zoom in on the remote (sometimes the buttons can be a bit small).. and you simply tap away to remove it.
Here’s some images of it in in action:
I understand that many cable boxes with DVR’s are starting to offer this same functionality. But I can’t see that happening in the UK for a few years and so in the meantime, this is a great solution and I highly recommend it if you travel a fair bit (but sometimes I also use this in other parts of my house where there is no tv.. its that good).