CNET First Look
Slingbox M1: Affordable TV streamer, now with Wi-FiThe newest member of the Slingbox family of video streamers -- which lets you view TV on nearly any PC or mobile device -- adds built-in Wi-Fi for just $149.
[MUSIC] Sling Media has added a new member to its family of [UNKNOWN] shipping streaming media boxes, and this is it, te Slingbox M1. Despite its ho-hum design, it's a pretty cool little box, and the noteworthy hardware feature here is the inclusion of wi-fi. Previously, that wireless connectivity was only available in the step up slingbox 500, now simply called sling tv, which retails for $300. The M1 costs half that or 150 dollars. Hi i'm David Carnoy. And as with past slingbox models, the M1 digitizes video streams from your cable or satellite box. Or DVR and streams them in real time to a wide variety of devices, Windows, PCs and Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android Phones, Android Tablets including the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, Windows phones and even some home devices such as an Apple TV or Roku. There's no monthly fee but the mobile apps cost $14.99. This streaming software on the PC and Mac is via a free browser plugin and the home streaming device apps are free as well. To set up the M1 all you have to do is connect the box to the component video outputs of your cable or satellite box. And set up a Sling box account and link the box to your wi-fi network from your computer. The box has built in ir emitters that interface with the IR on your cable or satellite box allowing you to turn your mobile device into a virtual remote control. if you have a router or an ethernet connection available near where your Sling box is set up, yes the M1 has an ethernet connection. Like the step up sling TV that M1 offers 1080P video streaming but video performance will vary. According to your internet connection. It's more important to have a speedy upload connection at the source that will at your home or where the sling box is installed. That said sling engineers have done some impressive work with video compression schemes. And I've managed to get a sharp image on my phone with even a slower 3G data connection. And with Higher bandwidth connections, including ones on your own wi-fi network at home, the image is rock solid, it's as if you're watching regular tv. If you're looking for differences between M 1 and sling tv, the sling tv has a pass through htmi port, that allows you to navigate your home tv's programming via sling's. Well designed electronic programming guide and some other added features. However from the standpoint of accessing your content remotely you really don't lose anything by going with this more affordable model. It faces more competition from TV anywhere apps from cable and satellite providers. A lot of those apps still offer limited channel selection. Until those apps truly open up the sling box remains the best way to remotely access all your home tv programming and this M1 with its built in WiFi is an attractive place shifting option as more affordable price point of 150$. I'm David Carnoy thanks for watching. [MUSIC]