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Sling Media SlingCatcher review: Sling Media SlingCatcher

The first question you'll have to ask yourself is whether there's any point whatsoever in owning a SlingCatcher. If you own a Slingbox, you can just as easily connect your laptop or PC to a television via the laptop's video output port. It's a less power-efficient way of doing things, but it could save you money, as well as the backache incurred by carrying a laptop plus a SlingCatcher wherever you go.

Those who use the SlingCatcher as a multi-room set-top box may be disappointed with it. It lets you easily view whatever's showing via your Sky TV, or similar, box, on a second TV, but you can't watch two separate channels at once. Whatever's showing on your main set-top box or television will be duplicated on the SlingCatcher, and vice versa -- so expect some remote-control wars to erupt between you and your housemates.

Changing channels or interacting with menus is fairly stressful on the Slingbox, and it's just as bad, if not worse, on the SlingCatcher. The system takes an age to react to remote-control inputs, due to latency caused by operating over a network. Sling Media has got around this, to some extent, by introducing a 'control mode' feature that improves responsiveness at the expense of picture quality, but this option is missing from the SlingCatcher.

Our last gripe is the price. The SlingCatcher retails for around £200, which is a significant sum considering that an additional Sky+ box retails for the same price, and has more features and superior picture quality. You can't carry a Sky+ box around, but you really won't want to carry a SlingCatcher around much either.

Sling Media's SlingCatcher is a good product in most respects, but it's hardly an essential purchase. We'd recommend it only to people who live alone and want to enjoy TV content on two television sets in different rooms.

Edited by Charles Kloet

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