The Slingbox was one of the coolest products of 2006, so when Sling Media announced three new versions, plus a brand new product called the SlingCatcher, we had to take a look.
The SlingCatcher works in conjunction with the Slingbox. The Slingbox 'slings' your TV signal over the Internet, at which point the SlingCatcher 'catches' the signal and pipes it through your television. You no longer need a laptop or desktop computer to receive the signal. Sling Media says the new device is ideal for anyone who wants to watch their home television on a remote TV in a hotel or holiday home, but we're not completely enamoured with the concept. The SlingCatcher, though stylish, is rather big, so it's arguably just as awkward to carry as a small laptop. And let's also not forget that you can connect a small Slingbox-equipped laptop to your hotel TV.
The new Slingboxes come in three flavours. There's the Slingbox Pro, which has everything the original Slingbox had, plus component and HDMI inputs and the ability to control up to four separate AV sources. The second model, the Slingbox AV, is identical apart from the omission of a TV tuner and the aforementioned features. The final new Slingbox, the Slingbox Tuner, is the most basic. It has a TV tuner, as the name implies, but it won't connect to your set-top box and doesn't let you control any AV devices remotely. There's no word as to when the new Slingboxes or the SlingCatcher will go on sale, but we'll keep you posted. -RR