I think I have died and gone to technology heaven! The new Sling Media product called the SlingCatcher is technology that I have been looking for and now I have it! Think of the SlingCatcher as a reverse SlingBox. The SlingCatcher is a universal media player for your TV. I have two SlingBox units. Well, now I have a new Sling Media unit that will allow me to do three things that will change the way I watch TV, movies and use my computer. SlingCatcher's on-screen interface and remote control provide easy access to TV from your SlingBox, Internet video from your PC, or personal media from your USB hard drive. The SlingCatcher was very easy to set up. The box has multiple connection options, so whatever your situation is, you will be able to hook the box up to your television with relative ease. I decided to hook it up to my main TV, which is nowhere near my Internet router (an Internet connection is required). There is no need to run 50 feet of Cat 6 cable from your router to your SlingCatcher. Instead, you only need to pick up a SlingLink Turbo, plug it into a regular power outlet near your Internet router and then into an outlet near your SlingCatcher and bingo! You have a full strength Internet connection. Set-up was easy and the on-screen menu was simple to follow. To ensure that your unit is completely up-to-date, the SlingCatcher will automatically search the web for the latest software update.
Once the unit was up to date and completely set up, I began my testing. If you have other SlingBoxes in your house, then the SlingCatcher is a great way to save you money. A nice feature of the SlingCatcher and specifically the SlingPlayer for TV, is Sling Accounts Integration. If you've downloaded the new SlingPlayer 2.0 for Windows software, you are familiar with Sling Accounts. You can now log into Sling Accounts on the SlingCatcher via your TV screen and once you do so, your SlingBox Finder ID will appear on the screen and you can easily connect to it to start streaming your home TV to this second TV where the SlingCatcher is now connected. The box immediately recognized my other SlingBoxes and I connected with ease. You can eliminate the need for an extra receiver for your cable or satellite system by simply having the SlingCatcher hooked up to your TV and tap into a SlingBox that is hooked up to a TV with a cable or satellite access. The quality of the picture is good (I have a SlingSolo hooked up to an HD output), so you won't lose much of the quality of the directly connected television. The SlingCatcher enables you to record multiple shows and still watch something else from the other room as well.
The second great feature of the SlingCatcher is that you can plug up to two external hard drives to the SlingCatcher box and view any media that you have on that hard drive directly on your television. If you have copied any movies or backed up your music or pictures, you can view them or listen to them on any TV that your SlingCatcher is connected to. The SlingCatcher supports a number of media formats natively, including WMV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264 and Xvid and supports a number of file formats including .avi, .vob, .ifo, .mpg, .mov, .wma, .wav as well as many others. With the new digital copies of movies that you can get when you buy a DVD, you can now take that movie with you to any room in your house, or even take the SlingCatcher with you on vacation and watch your movies in your hotel on your hotel television.
The third and coolest feature is the ability to project what's on your PC directly to your television via a free software add-on called SlingProjector. SlingProjector software for 32-bit Windows XP and Vista lets you select any window on your PC to project full screen onto your TV. This is ideal for watching an ever increasing amount of Internet video content on your TV instead of a laptop screen. Clips from YouTube or Hulu, full episodes from the major networks such as CBS.com or NBC.com, even streaming feature length movies from NetFlix can all be projected to your big screen. SlingProjector works with most websites and video players. This feature will enable you to take advantage of all of the future Internet direct delivery to your PC.
The SlingCatcher retails for $299 at all major electronics retailers and is well worth the investment. This one piece of technology will enable you to keep up as the digital offerings on the web grow at an incredible pace. I see the SlingCatcher as a hub for all the media you have and it will become a centerpiece for how you watch TV, movies and use the Internet. For all of the incredible offerings from SlingMedia, visit SlingMedia.com.