Last week, the folks from Sling Media stopped by to give us a hands-on look at the SlingCatcher. Originally due in 2007, the long-delayed product looks to be finally ready to ship this fall. (The video below is Molly Wood's preview of the SlingCatcher when it was reintroduced in January 2008.)
As the name suggests, the SlingCatcher is a hardware version of the SlingPlayer software that's available for various devices. Connect the SlingCatcher to your bedroom TV, for instance, and you can access the live TV and recorded programs from your living room DVR (which, in turn, is connected to a Slingbox).
So, instead of being limited to the small-ish screens of a laptop (or even a mobile phone), you're back to watching TV on...a TV.
The SlingCatcher can access any Slingbox that you've added to your Sling.com account, but the same caveats apply to it as with the software SlingPlayers. Most notably, only one client can access a given Slingbox at a time.
Bandwidth constraints apply (streaming within a home network generally looks great, but remote Slingbox resolution will be limited by upstream bandwidth at the source location). And the Slingbox monopolizes the AV source to which its connected (if you log in to your DVR and start playing Desperate Housewives while somebody's in the living room watching football, they'll suddenly see Eva Longoria instead of Eli Manning. … Read more