Jul 05 AT 9:26 AM Anthony Domanico 12 Comments

SlingPlayer Mobile: A full review of the SlingPlayer experience

It’s maybe fitting that I’m writing this review to the start of the Argentina vs. Germany game, with the loved (and hated) vuvuzela in the background. The first thing I thought when writing the SlingPlayer release article last week was how great it would be to be able to watch the World Cup while sitting at my desk at work as a way to both enjoy the World Cup and escape from my hectic days of late.

SlingPlayer is a wonderful idea – take the TV service that you already pay for, and let you enjoy it from wherever you happen to be at the time. Want to head to the gym but don’t want to miss the game? Slingplayer has your back, as long as you have one of their newer devices such as the SlingPlayer Solo, HD, or Pro-HD.

SlingPlayer Setup

This review was written using the Slingbox Solo, so your experience may be slightly different with the HD or Pro-HD versions. Setting up the Slingbox Solo was a breeze. Simply plug in the power strip, connect the included composite cable, and hook up the infrared receivers to your Satellite or Cable TV box and the Slingbox itself is ready to go.

After setting up the physical box, users need to go to the Slingbox website to complete a quick online setup, during which you will need the model number of your Satellite/Cable box so that you can set up your Slingbox to be fully compatible.

It is worth mentioning at the outset that you can only watch one stream at a time, so you will not be able to have one stream running on your laptop, and another on your Android phone, well, not at the same time anyway. I don’t think that will be a problem for any of you, as it’s very likely you will choose one or the other, but I wanted to squash any hopes of being able to watch one program on your laptop and another simultaneously on your Android phone or another laptop.

SlingBox on your PC

Once your equipment is setup, the Slingbox website is your home for enjoying your TV while on the go. The media center integration is actually done very well. Once you put in your serial number for your cable or satellite receiver, SlingBox allows you to use a virtual version of your home remote (which looks eerily identical) to control your receiver, which does require your receiver to be powered up. The online version of the remote is as fully functional as your home device. Additionally, the guide feature allows you to view what is currently on and quickly switch to whatever program you want to watch.

The video works very well. I’ve been watching about 30 minutes of pregame and the first minute or so of the Argentina-Germany match without interruptions (though there is a slight delay in the stream). Because I’m using the composite cables rather than HD cables, the picture is not as crisp as I’m used to at home, but it still looked very good (the HD fix is as simple as buying HD cables, which can be had for fairly cheap).

Overall, the experience of watching live TV on your laptop is very pleasant, and everything works as it should. Very well put together, Slingbox.

The Android App

I grew up with a portable handheld TV. You remember those things, they had like 2-5 inch screens and you would often find kids hunched around them at school if someone was lucky enough to have coaxed their parents into buying one for them. Needless to say, I have longed for the day where I could have live, satellite/cable TV on my Android phone.

So how well does Slingplayer Mobile work on the 3.7″ display of an Android phone? Fairly well actually. The stream was fluid whether I was on WiFi or 3G (note: steam will not work on Edge, nor would you really want it to as it would be almost unwatchable). What’s better is the stream rarely hiccuped while traveling using the Nexus One car dock, no matter whether I was going 5 MPH or 75MPH.¬†If you can get over the notion that you’re watching ants play in the World Cup, the viewing experience is fairly enjoyable as well.

Now, I don’t have a DVR service, as I’ve never seen the need for it. I’d be amiss to not mention the fact that SlingPlayer Mobile will allow you to control your DVR service right from your Android device. I don’t personally know how well this works, but some SlingPlayer Mobile users I’ve contacted have said the service works flawlessly, and that they love having control of their DVR while on the go.

The remote feature for the Android platform is actually implemented very well. Rather than having a full picture view of your remote with clickable buttons like it’s PC counterpart, SlingPlayer Mobile for Android has three separate menus, one for a simple channel up/down, one to allow you to enter a numeric channel, and one for all the other features you could hope to use (program guide, menu, setup, power off, etc.).

Overall, the Android experience is nearly flawless and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to watch TV right from my Android phone.

Final Verdict

The SlingBox experience, from initial setup, to watching TV grom your PC or Android device, is done very well. Personally, I think the service is fully worth the $200 investment for the Slingbox and the Android application ($30). If you do watch a lot of TV, and have often dreamed of being able to take that service with you wherever you happen to go, I have no problems highly recommending Slingbox and SlingPlayer Mobile to you. If you’re a casual TV watcher, you may want to skip this one, though as always, it is up to you to decide how to spend your hard earned dollars. After spending a few days with SlingBox, I can say that I would gladly spend the money for the service.

Slingplayer Android Slingplayer Android Slingplayer Android Slingplayer Android

Source: Slingbox

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • http://Website Me

    Shouldnt start off an article dated for today by saying your watching a game that was 2 days ago.. but good review..

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Well, I wrote it and submitted it for editorial review two days ago! :)

      Editor must have taken off for the holiday weekend.

  • http://www.thedevshack.com Mike

    Also wanted to point out that although the Android app says it will not work with the SlingBox classic, it did work perfect for me. I have one of the very early devices and was happy to see it worked with no issues.

  • http://Website abm

    What is slingbox? What does it do for normal tv?

  • http://Website Me

    Ah ok :) I just got the slingbox last week, and love it. You are right, always dreamed about having cable on a cell phone.. Lets see, $10 a month for VZW limited vzcast or free cable.. tough call lol

  • http://Website Me

    @ABM You hook a slingbox to wireless router and cable/satellite and can watch tv on your phone.

  • http://Website J.C.

    I’ve had the Sling App since it’s first release date and at first I was skeptical of the $39 price. Then again, I had no other choice or option to watch the World Cup on MT3g – CM5.8.DS. Since the install I have been very satisfied with it’s stability on 3G; great product recommend if you already have a Sling set-top.

  • http://Website David

    screenshot apps should realise when the phone is held in landscape, fortunate my monitor can pivot.

  • http://Website Josef F

    I know that the following rant will probably be a TL;DR for most people, but I can’t warn people away from SlingMedia products strongly enough.
    I purchased a Solo last month in anticipation of the release of the Android app. I connected it to my TiVo and tested it out once or twice from my home PC. It seemed to work fine at that time and, frankly, I let it sit unused until the app came out. Cut to last week (two weeks ago?) when the app was finally released. I quickly purchased it (while sitting at work) and tried it out.
    It wouldn’t open. Nothing. Touch the icon, screen flashes for a second, and back to my icon tray. I went to the SlingMedia support webstie and started chatting with Frederico. I told him about my setup, a rooted Motorola Droid running Cyanogen. Frederico quickly stated that they don’t support rooted phones. At all. He wouldn’t even offer me any suggestions on how to proceed. He just said they wouldn’t support their app on a phone that had been rooted. I was, to say the least, disappointed. I uninstalled the app for a refund, but decided to see if I could salvage ANYTHING out of my Slingbox experience and tried to connect to it from my work computer. Their website kept insisting my home network was behind a firewall (It’s not). So I went home for lunch and tried from my home PC again, and even though it had worked fine last month, I was getting the same error at home.
    Another chat session with Frederico. He wanted to know how it was connected to my TiVo. I told him I used the composite cables that came with the Slingbox. He said I should use the component cables. I told him my TiVo was an older Series 2 and didn’t have component ports. He said I should try using an S-Video cable. I told him I didn’t have an extra S-Video cable and wasn’t inclined to go out an buy one since the Slingbox wasn’t working with the cables it shipped with, and besides…why would my choice of video cables affect the network connection of the device? Frederico said he simply wouldn’t be able to help me unless I went out and bought an S-Video cable to connect the Slingbox to my TiVo.

    So, long story short (too late!), I am very disappointed with SlingMedia. I have purchased a lot of consumer grade electronics in my life. Some would even go so far as to say I have a bit of an addiction to it. But I have never in my entire life dealt with a product so shoddy or a customer support system to abysmal as SlingMedia and their Slingbox.

    Caveat Emptor.

    • http://Website J.C.


      As I posted earlier, I have a rooted MT3G running CM 5.08-Stable and the Sling app is running like a champ.

      Yet, I did encounter a problem initiating the app when I was running the Chromatic’s CM5-based ROM. So, I uninstalled Chromatic and then installed CM’s 5.08-Stable. Since switching ROMs the Sling app has function with no hitches.

      I suggest is uninstalling and reinstalling CM5-Stable again.

      Good luck,


  • http://Website Sam

    Because Froyo supports flash player, I am finally able watch the world cup on my Nexus one…
    all you have to do is go to http://www.atdhe.net and click on live sports up top, than click on the game you want to see, and you’ll be watching the games live on your phone on the go! I even watch the games while at work on my phone

  • http://Website Tommy

    I love slingplayer was watching the World Cup game as well on my unlocked HTC Hero for at&t and i can say that it worked quite well on Edge for me it took a little while to switch from menus and loading but other than that it streamed quite well just used quite alot of battery! But i love it!