Solution to a Problem - Slingbox? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-26-2013, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Just curious if anyone here has any experience with a Slingbox. I think it may be a solution to a problem I have, but I'm looking for some input before I pull the trigger.

Here's the scenario and my initial thoughts on a solution.

My parents bought a cabin in a pretty rural area, a good hour from "civilization". They spend their summers there and would really like some form of live television, beyond the limited selection available over the airwaves, while there.

There is no cable available. A dish is not an option as they are quite surrounded by very tall trees with no line of sight, in any direction.. least of all to the South.

However, there is DSL in the area, recently upgraded from 1.5Mbps to 7-8ish.

I'm thinking the Slingbox may solve this problem. My main concern in the speed of the internet connection. Will it be enough to sustain an HD video stream? Does the Slingbox software scale video quality based on connection speed or will they see stuttering/buffering?

I have a HD-DVR connected to a television in my bedroom at my house which I only really turn on in the mornings while getting ready for work. So, I'm thinking I can connect the Slingbox to that DVR. Another potential issue, however, is that this television is a good 50-60 feet from my modem/router.

This means, I have a choice. I could get the Slingbox 500 model with wi-fi and connect to my router wirelessly. My internet connection is pretty solid (65Mbps down / 10Mbps up), but the distance from the router concerns me. There is also the 350 model, which is cheaper but does not have wireless connectivity (I don't really care about the other features the 500 boasts over the 350). I could pick up a powerline network adapater and connect to the router with that. I've heard positive things about the latest crop of powerline adapters, but I'm not sure how that solution compares to the wireless option from a performance standpoint. Net price would not be significantly different between the two options, and that isn't really a factor for them.

I'm building a small PC for the cabin. My thought is to have a monitor for email/web/whatever and a HDMI cable running to a 40" HDTV to which they can stream the Sling player.

Thinking about this problem, do you agree with the direction I'm headed? Which option is best and why? Is there something else entirely that I should considering?

I appreciate any input!
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-26-2013, 03:58 PM
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My main concern in the speed of the internet connection. Will it be enough to sustain an HD video stream? Does the Slingbox software scale video quality based on connection speed or will they see stuttering/buffering?

Your connection at the source is good, but I would suggest a wired connection to the slingbox - powerline works fine.

http://support.slingbox.com/get/KB-5000040.html

When you’re viewing your Slingbox remotely, it’s uploading data, so the faster the upstream rate, the more video data your Slingbox can send out to the Internet. An upstream bandwidth of 256 Kbps (Kilobits per second) or more is recommended. Check with your ISP to find out what your broadband upstream bandwidth is, and to discuss upgrading to a speedier service, if necessary.

I'm building a small PC for the cabin. My thought is to have a monitor for email/web/whatever and a HDMI cable running to a 40" HDTV to which they can stream the Sling player.
That would work.

http://www.slingbox.com/
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-27-2013, 01:26 AM
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I have the older version of the 500 from Slingbox. It has been working pretty well for me. I've done streaming from both a cable based ISP connection and from cellular 4G from Sprint via the mobile Slingplayer app. Yes, the Slingbox setup will set video quality based on the amount of available bandwidth.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-01-2013, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses.

I ordered the 500 model Slingbox and will cross my fingers that the wireless signal will be strong enough at that distance. I can always add the powerline adapter later if necessary.

At the cabin, the phone company (CenturyLink) claims to have recently upgraded the lines in the area to allow for a 10Mbps connection, which I hope will be sufficient on that end. We shall soon find out as the service is scheduled to be restored on May 15th.

Another question came to mind. The computer they'll be using to stream the Sling player at the cabin (Found here) has both video and audio integrated into the motherboard. Will the HDMI cord running from the computer to the TV carry both video and audio signals or will I need to run a separate cable for audio to the television?
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-10-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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Your 10 mbps uplink should be fine, and if you have a decent wi-fi router, you'll have plenty of BW there, too.

I have my Slingbox 500 connected over wi-fi and can watch on a computer on a wired ethernet in another room in fairly high quality (looks like about 720i at the display, with minor stutter and nominal compression effects). The slingplayer software reports the streaming bitrate in the window, and it tops out at about 6-7 mbps.

On a wi-fi connected computer, it works at about 5-6 mbps.

The only location I've attempted to use it outside the house has a terrible internet connection and worse wi-fi and I'm using a (decent) smartphone to connect, and there I get very degraded video with lots of still pictures at 120-250 kbps.

So your wi-fi and your ISP won't be a limiter.

Interpolating, over a 1.5 mbps-limited connection I'd expect a picture in the 480i neighborhood but with noticeable stuttering and compression. Audio and video out of sync will also occur frequently. But if they did the 10-mbps upgrade, you might get full zoot.

Control can be quite slow. It takes some time for the software to talk to the box and then for the box to get the tuner to respond. It uses an IR dongle, so I assume the tuner operates at normal speed once it gets the command.

Your viewers will have to be tolerant of the degradation relative to regular TV sources, and to the control lag.

And they may need to tolerate the fairly frequent need to close and reopen the web browser when powering up the cable box using the remote window controls. For some reason the audio refuses to come through at all until you do that. It happens to me at least 50% of the time, regardless of how I'm connecting.
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-10-2013, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packy_mcfrag View Post

Your 10 mbps uplink should be fine, and if you have a decent wi-fi router, you'll have plenty of BW there, too.

I have my Slingbox 500 connected over wi-fi and can watch on a computer on a wired ethernet in another room in fairly high quality (looks like about 720i at the display, with minor stutter and nominal compression effects). The slingplayer software reports the streaming bitrate in the window, and it tops out at about 6-7 mbps.

On a wi-fi connected computer, it works at about 5-6 mbps.

The only location I've attempted to use it outside the house has a terrible internet connection and worse wi-fi and I'm using a (decent) smartphone to connect, and there I get very degraded video with lots of still pictures at 120-250 kbps.

So your wi-fi and your ISP won't be a limiter.

Interpolating, over a 1.5 mbps-limited connection I'd expect a picture in the 480i neighborhood but with noticeable stuttering and compression. Audio and video out of sync will also occur frequently. But if they did the 10-mbps upgrade, you might get full zoot.

Control can be quite slow. It takes some time for the software to talk to the box and then for the box to get the tuner to respond. It uses an IR dongle, so I assume the tuner operates at normal speed once it gets the command.

Your viewers will have to be tolerant of the degradation relative to regular TV sources, and to the control lag.

And they may need to tolerate the fairly frequent need to close and reopen the web browser when powering up the cable box using the remote window controls. For some reason the audio refuses to come through at all until you do that. It happens to me at least 50% of the time, regardless of how I'm connecting.

Great info... thanks!

I have the whole setup running now at my house and everything works perfectly. And I was relieved to find that the HDMI is indeed carrying both audio and video from the computer.

Unfortunately, the Slingbox doesn't seem to work for me at work. I thought perhaps the corporate firewall was the culprit, but a friend in the building who also has a Slingbox is able to stream video fine. So, after a little research, I forwarded port 5001 on my router. The next day at work I tried it and the video worked fine the first time I loaded it up. Since that first try, however, it has never worked again. It keeps reporting the following: "Your Slingbox has been disconnected because of a poor Internet connection. Try connecting again. You may need to use another location." I really have no idea where to go from here.

My parents, on the other side of the country, say it works fine for them. It seems to work fine on the other computers on my home network. So, I'm perplexed.

In any case, thanks again, for the replies!
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