There's a new Slinger in town, but this is no cowboy: the PRO-HD slings television programmes to your laptop or mobile phone, anywhere in the world. Cool, and less deadly than six-shooters.
The Slingbox PRO-HD is the latest in the series of devices that allow you to send TV from your home, over the Internet, to a laptop or mobile phone anywhere in the world. Crucially, it even lets you change the channel.
The PRO-HD has been available for some time in the US -- where slinging is huge -- but this European version comes equipped with a built-in DVB-T receiver, which means you can send Freeview TV without needing to connect the box to anything other than an aerial socket. If you want more inputs, that's possible via component and composite connections. There's even a digital audio input, for pumping the best possible sound into the device.
One of the most exciting things about the Slingbox is the addition of apps for Symbian, BlackBerry, iOS and Android. This means you can watch TV channels on your phone wherever you are, as long as you can connect to a decent, high-speed network, without bankrupting yourself with data charges (using Wi-Fi is strongly recommended). The apps generally cost about £20, which on top of the initial outlay for hardware is a touch steep.
Even though the new Slingbox promises HD video, it doesn't come equipped with a Freeview HD tuner, which we think is a great shame. If you want to stream in HD, you'll need to connect it to an HD device from Sky, Virgin, Freeview or freesat. And that's a problem too, because neither Sky nor Virgin has component HD sockets on their new hardware and HDMI isn't supported by the Slingbox.
At £250, the Slingbox PRO-HD isn't exactly cheap, but if you travel a lot, and need your homely TV fix, it's almost certainly going to be worth its weight in gold. It could also work as a way for you to watch TV around your house, where there's no TV or aerial socket, which could make toilet breaks a much less tiresome business.
The Slingbox PRO-HD is out now and is available from Amazon, John Lewis and Best Buy. We're currently trying the box out, and a full review will appear on CNET UK very soon. Until then, have a good look through our photos.