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Sling Media Sling Catcher
Unboxed and set up mine yesterday. It works like a dream with the SlingBox SOLO and I'm almost convinced that the picture is better than that produced by SlingPlayer on either my OSX laptops or Windows HTPC.
Once the SlingCatcher remote is configured to turn on/off and control the volume on your TV then the whole experience of tapping into your SlingBox and watching/controlling something like Sky+ upstairs is as quick and easy as you could want.
I will probably never use the media playing functionality, but it certainly manages to flawlessly play 720p HD content off a USB flash drive so perhaps it might achieve some use over my HTPC.
It doesn't yet bother me, but there's no Mac version of SlingProjector. Projecting the odd YouTube or YouKu video from my laptop would be neat.
The only downside? When you turn off the SlingCatcher whilst watching a SlingBox feed it gives you the option to send the "off" command to the SlingBox or the SlingCatcher but not both at once... just a simple convenience oversight. Yes, I'm lazy.
Sling Media SlingBox Solo
The SlingBox Solo gets everything right, from good looks to simple physical setup and simple software setup. It took only minutes to hook up and now I can watch my Sky+ box on my mobile phone wherever there's 3g or HSDPA coverage. Incredible technology that takes a simple idea and makes it into a user friendly product polished to a level of perfection that contends with Apple.
Even the box is pretty!
The only issue I could find with the SlingBox Solo is the fact it can only support one viewer at a time, this is for legal and technical reasons so is forgivable but still a shame. Also a more expensive model equipped with WIFI would be nice but Sling Media seem intent on explaining away WIFI as unsuitable and trying to sell customers their Sling Link solution.
Suffice to say, if you can't run a network cable to your TV then it's going to cost you an extra £60 to get it connected to your network. But if you can it's a fantastic product that really does deliver exactly what it says on the tin.
Archos 80GB TV Plus
Awful remote, awful UI, no high definition support, awful selection of over compressed content in the content portal, awful aesthetics, and nag screens on half of the functions trying to get you to buy the web browser, widgets, plugins and after a year you're going to have to renew your TV+ subscription to even use the half-baked PVR functionality because this thing lacks a freeview tuner or, in fact, any redeeming features whatsoever.
Archos 250GB TV Plus
Well it's a first for Archos so it's hard to blame them for dropping the ball on this product. I attended the launch conference and, when faced with the question of HD content, they poo poed, stumbled over their words and claimed HD irrelevant citing content protection issues as a reason for not supporting it. This product is good without question but with no HD it's already obsolete.
Despite touting TV recording abilities the TV+ lacks a freeview tuner.. a messy solution that might work but seems inelegant at best. This is another cost cutter. Don't expect any real freeview HD recorder functionality here.
What's worse is that Archos claim they keep the cost of the TV+ down by omitting some features including the web browser which must be purchased at 19.99. I can pick from tens of free browsers on my Mac or PC but must pay 20 quid on top of the TV+ price, plus more for some codecs, to even use it to its full potential.
If they weren't giving them away, I wouldn't even consider it. Too little, too late for a cutting edge consumer. Which is their customer base!
Finally its ugly, the UI is also ugly and looks ropey on an HD screen even through HDMI. The former is opinion I admit but the latter is fact.
Save yourself 200 quid and wait for version 2.
World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest (PC & Mac)
3 New from
Me and my partner both already play WoW but a deal like this is too good to miss. It's basically getting a free additional account with the strategy guides! Perfect for playing Horde characters on the same server as our Alliance ones which, with one account, would normally be impossible. Of course there are far better online guides, but the books are still handy to have around in a pinch!