RV Experience Sharing our experience about RVing

August 10, 2005

Slingbox For TV From Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — donwood49 @ 5:29 am

I went to Best Buy and bought a Slingbox. The SlingBox is a device that connects to your home network and a TV antenna or cable box or other video source. You run a player on your computer and video and audio are streamed from you home to your computer, wherever it may be where there is a broadband connection. It works great from point to point on the network at home.
Our first night using the Slingbox in the RV we were at the Pinnacles National Monument South of Hollister, California. There are two things that occur there. There are no cell phone signals and there are no TV signals. There are great views and there aren’t many places as nice to visit as the Pinnacles, but no signals.
We use Vonage for our IP phone and that fixes the first problem.
Our Slingbox seems to handle the second.
The first time we tried it in the RV using the Datastorm Satellite Internet connection it was a bit shaky to start. The feed was dropping and requiring a manual restart, every 5 sec to 5 minutes, suddenly it started working continuously with occasional short dropout but returning automatically. After becoming more familiar with the thing and making a few tweaks, it works much better. I reduced the sample rate from 310K and 30 frames per second to 220K and 20 fps.
I watched as much as 5 hours one evening and there was no impact to bandwidth of the Internet connection over the satellite. I was even doing a lot of website updates at the same time. In the evening, there was some momentary dropout, not enough to bother me and, just as David Letterman came on, it became perfect and stayed that way until I called it a night after another hour or so. The same effect on a subsequent night. Must be a lot less traffic on the satellite that late. I think it will work out OK.
We enjoy our home broadcast stations. There are a lot of them and occasionally, something is worth watching. I’m too cheap to pay cable of DirecTV rates. The cost is just 2-3 times what it should be. I’d prefer it if they charged by the channel and you could select which channels you wanted. I’d pick a couple and pay my $2 month and be happier, but that’s not this world. So, paying the $200 for the Slingbox seems to be a good alternative. It will pay for itself at that rate in 8 years. Actually, since DirecTV cost $41/month, minimum, as an alternative, it pays for itself in 5 months.
Lou returned home while I was still away. Lou called to say there was a problem with our house phone. It is a Vonage phone connected to our DSL line. The person she called said they couldn’t understand her. I knew right away what was wrong. I was watching TV and there wasn’t enough up link bandwidth left to feed the SlingBox video and the Vonage phone. When she’s home I’ll have to curtail my TV watching until later at night. Interestingly, I can watch TV and browse the Internet here in the RV without any problems.

Article under construction. Pictures to follow.

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