Experience with Slingbox and such devices that allow access to your tv via internet.

I’ve seen these in the stores. They even have the systems that supposedly will allow you to watch you HD channels anywhere via the internet. I can’t imagine that the image is very smooth. Isn’t the bandwidth of an HD video signal pretty high??
My brother is in the states and he has Direct TV with a bunch of HD channels and high speed DSL. I would like to hook up one of these devices so that I can watch American television in Germany. How well do these things work? Is it worth it? Can I really watch HDTV through it?

Are these things practical? Or more of a gimmick?

This site has a blog section that might be helpful

I don’t have a Slingbox but my business partner does. He has a dedicated cable box (or maybe just cable line?) in his house that he uses just for the Slignbox, so that there’s no problems with people switching channels on him when he is watching Slingbox.

I have never used it for HD and neither has he. He uses it in 4 ways:

  1. When he and his pals are tailgating at the local college football games, he gets wireless either from the campus or from his Verizon card, and they all watch college FB coverage in the parking lot via his laptop and Slingbox
  2. He doesn’t have a tv in his bedroom. At night he uses his laptop to watch the Slingbox quietly while his wife sleeps.
  3. When he visits me in Ohio (he’s in Georgia) for work stuff he stays at my house. I don’t have cable and there is no TV in the guest room, so he can have access to cable from his laptop when he is here.
  4. If there’s something dire I need to see live here that is not on broadcast TV (such as the* Daily Show/Colbert Report* live reporting from the 2008 election) he lets me watch his Slingbox from my house.

The picture is good, the controls are awesome, and I’ve never heard of any connectivity complaints from him. I would highly recommend the Slingbox to anyone who can justify the cost to themselves - it’s a really awesome product.

It works very well. One caveat: Slingbox (at least current models) is a one-to-one transmission, not a broadcast. Wording on their website suggests that to make a broadcast model could violate some copyright laws or at least make some content providers angry, and they don’t want to take on that monster.

The faster your connection speed is, the better, but almost any modern hi-speed line should work acceptably.

Last I checked, they didn’t have an HD model, but it was planned. Maybe it’s out now? It would certainly require a higher speed connection than the standard model.

This implies to me that you can only watch one channel and that channel must be changed locally at the box itself? I was assuming that you could change the channel from your computer. Is that not the case?

So I would be at the mercy of whoever is sitting in front of the tv with the slingbox on it? I would have to watch what he watches and when he changes his channel, it changes on my computer too??

Keep in mind that he has one of the original models, so things might be different now, but…

AFAIK you are using your computer to change the channel on the cable box. So yes you can use the computer to change the channel and so can someone who is in front of the cable box. You’re both in control of it.

Where he lives it’s only another $5/mo or so to have another cable hookup in his house so it was economical for him to get one to dedicate to the Slingbox.

He likes to piss off his buddy from time to time by logging into his buddy’s Slingbox and changing the channel to PBS or something when the buddy is watching sports. HA HA