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This is great as it means that if someone is watching the set-top box, you can still access the DVB-T stream, whether you’re upstairs on a laptop or half a world away.
Thanks to the built-in tuner you could even use the Slingbox without a TV at home, but in fact you’d fall foul of the law as a TV licence is required for the TV tuner. If you have a TV licence, you’re covered, though I can’t think why you’d want a Slingbox if you didn’t even have a TV at home.
There’s no SCART input on the Slingbox, but instead you get the choice of S-Video or composite. A SCART to composite pass-through adaptor is provided, as well as an S-Video cable and the required audio and Ethernet cables. An IR Blaster is also supplied that enables the SlingBox to change the channel on your set-top box. This is well designed with sensors attached to sticky grips that attach at the top and bottom of your set-top box so they can be precisely placed above the IR sensor.
The box itself looks like no home entertainment product you’ve ever seen before. It resembles a slab of Toblerone that’s been made out of metal. As such, it’s surprising when you pick it up to find that it hardly weighs anything. It’s also covered the surface is a number of funky messages such as MY TV. If you’re a conservative type and prefer your utilitarian black boxes then this certainly will stand out, but I think that’s a good thing.
At the rear of the box you’ll find the S-Video and composite inputs and these both share an audio input. This is a limitation as it means that while you could have two devices attached, you can only hook one up for sound.
While the Slingbox has an Ethernet port for connecting to your router, it doesn’t have any wireless capabilities. If your wireless router happens to be located next to your TV or set-top box, that’s not a problem. If not you’re going to have to run a very long Ethernet cable or go and get a wireless gaming adaptor as used to connect consoles to your router to get them online. An alternative is Ethernet over your home electricity plugs, as reviewed here.