Enter the Dragon Slayer… errrr… SlingBox!   1 comment

Back in March of this year my “introductory offer” for expanded cable TV service in Maine that included the New England Sports Network channel (NESN, home of the Red Sox) expired, and what was costing me about $18 per month extra was about to jump to $65 per month extra, so I cancelled the expanded service and we dropped back to the lowest Time-Warner package (local broadcast channels, a half-dozen shopping channels, the weather channel, and a country-music MTV-like channel) for $13 a month. The only impact that change had on me was that I could no longer watch live Red Sox games while up in Maine (unless I wanted to drive down to the Newcastle Publick House bar and buy beers while I watched). Since then I’ve been investigating alternative ways to get broadcast baseball into the Ballot Box.

My first thought was to subscribe to MLBTV.COM, but they impose blackouts of home AND away games in your team’s “viewing area,” and all of New England is within the “viewing area” for the Red Sox, so that wouldn’t work. Then I checked into satellite dish subscriptions, but they’d cost as much or more than the Time-Warner option. Radio reception up in Newcastle stinks too, so I couldn’t even pick up the affiliate broadcast AM or FM radio. I was limited to the MLB streaming-radio-over-internet option that was included with my “Red Sox Nation” membership.

Then a few weeks ago WOOT offered a refurbished SlingBox Solo for less than half the list price, so I bought one.  SlingBox is a device that gets inserted between a video source (cable box, DVR, etc.) and a TV, where it peels off a copy of the audio and video coming out of the video source and streams it out over the internet. With the correct software installed on a laptop or PC or iPad and the correct username and password, a user can pick up that streaming audio and video coming from the SlingBox, and watch the television shows coming out of that video source from anywhere in the world where a decent internet connection can be found.

It works like a champ!

SlingBox TV on Laptop

The SlingBox was delivered to the southern house while I was up in Maine, so it was waiting for me when I got home after my extended Labor Day weekend in Maine. I set it up and configured it to work with the non-high-def digital cable box that Lynn sometimes uses in her sewing room. I’ve installed the software on three machines so far (my personal laptop, my desktop workstation in my basement office, and my MITRE work laptop) [UPDATE: I also bought the app and installed it on my Kindle Fire – works great!], and each one works well. The SlingBox software running on the computer also includes a virtual remote so I can change channels and do similar stuff remotely as if I were controlling the cable box from the sewing room.

So I will now be able to watch Red Sox games (or anything else we get as part of our Comcast subscription in Woburn) at the Ballot Box, or anywhere else in the world when I travel on business! The system only allows one machine to view the video stream coming out of the SlingBox at a time, so we can’t double- or triple-dip, but the “No Baseball in Maine” problem has been solved! YAY! And just in time for the (fingers tightly crossed) post-season!

Posted 9 September 2011 by Gene Vogt in General, Maine

One response to “Enter the Dragon Slayer… errrr… SlingBox!

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  1. Pingback: Through Every Season (Turn Turn Turn)… « The Ballot Box Blog

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