Sling Media got our geek juices flowing this morning, as it announced not one but two new Slingboxes. Somebody pass the Huggies. Here we have the fully pimped-out Slingbox Pro (top), and the entry-level Slingbox Solo (bottom), both of which let you watch your home TV on a laptop or mobile phone from anywhere in the world.
The £129 Solo is the most appealing of the two devices, to us at least. Unlike the toy-like original, the Solo's metallic, glossy, piano-black finish should look decent next to your existing AV setup. On the rear, you'll find component and S-Video input/output ports, but be warned -- you can only use one of these at a time. Watching video from multiple sources is only possible on the Slingbox Pro.
We like the £199 Slingbox Pro, but we can't get our heads around its design. It's massive, and its colour scheme is all sorts of wrong. We've managed to make it look half-decent in these pictures, but in reality it'll hurt your eyes. You'll need to redecorate your living room, or be somewhat inebriated, before the clear Perspex and red chassis starts to look attractive. It's just as well it has a built-in Freeview tuner and HDMI input/output.
The best thing about both devices is their improved bandwidth. Sling Media says both the Pro and Solo have a throughput of 8Mbps, making them four times faster than the original. This means relatively little when streaming stuff over the slow-ass Internet, but on a home network video quality should be much improved.
Naturally, we'll be taking the rest of the day off to test these claims. You can expect a full review after we've finished our tests, which mainly involve watching Trisha on our mobiles in the toilet. In the meantime, have a look at some pretty Slingbox pictures by clicking this link. -Rory Reid
The Slingbox Solo looking all moody and stuff. Of all versions past and present, this is the one to get if you're most concerned by style. It's far less likely to be mistaken for a child's toy than the previous Slingbox.
The rear of the Slingbox Pro is festooned with input/output ports. It actually looks quite attractive in this photo, but in real life it's a different story. Unless you're colour blind. Or just blind.
A close-up of the HDMI port -- a first for the Slingbox.
If you're hungry for even more ports, the Slingbox Pro comes with an HD cable, which connects to the HDMI port. This provides component video and audio ports for your HD devices.
In the box, you'll find all manner of cableage. At the bottom there's an infrared blaster cable that dangles over the IR receiver on your set-top box, so you can change the channel without being in the same room.
The Slingbox Pro has a built-in Freeview tuner, so you don't even need to connect it to a set-top box. Just hook it up to an aerial and your router and Bob's your uncle.
Both Slingboxes are now capable of churning out video at a higher rate (8Mbps), so video should appear smoother and clearer than with the old model.