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Can a Slingbox 500 replace both a Tivo Stream and Tivo Mini Vox?

Discussion in 'TiVo Stream' started by nuraman00, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Oh, thanks for the clarification. I thought it casted it from the phone, because of this icon in the upper right, with the square and curves, that's usually associated with casting. When I was on a remote network, it said the options were to play on my phone, or a Roku. (Ignore the options that are in the picture right now, as that's from my home network).

    https://i.imgur.com/zabVkbb.png

    Why couldn't the SlingPlayer for Roku, behave more like the phone one, where I could just launch the player directly from the Roku, and log into my account? And then use the Roku remote as the control?

    Why have the phone get in the middle and instruct the Roku to make the connection?
     
  2. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Probably because it's now discontinued, but the price of the Slingbox has gone up since when you probably purchased it.

    I paid $330 for a new Slingbox 500.

    There's a new Slingbox M2 on eBay for $107 after shipping. I had wanted the 500 model though, even though I think the only major difference is that the 500 has HDMI whereas the M2 is component only.

    How much did you purchase yours for, and what model?
     
  3. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up. That's what I ended up doing, connecting the output of the Slingbox to the TV. And the 2nd output of the splitter is unconnected.
     
  4. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    I ended up getting a new Slingbox 500 from an Amazon.com seller.

    @mdavej helped me figure out the playback issues, on the PC.

    I had been using this player (which was recommended during the setup):

    Slingbox - Country Selector

    This player sucks. There's a 15 second advertisement every time I launch it. I kept seeing the same Clorox ad, in Spanish for some reason.

    And the HDMI connection rarely works. I have to switch the source to component, then HDMI, to see video + audio. (Or use component directly).

    This player below is good:

    Slingbox Player

    No ads.

    HDMI works right away.

    Actually, I just noticed one issue RIGHT NOW. If I'm using the embedded player, the rewind 7 seconds / skip ahead 30 seconds button doesn't work. I see the message on the screen after I push the button, but it doesn't perform the action. I also don't hear the Tivo button sounds that correspond with pushing those buttons.

    If I use the player on my phone, or that "Newwatch" Sling player, then the buttons work. And I also hear the Tivo button sounds.

    Any idea why, @mdavej? Do those buttons work for you on the embedded player? Is there any configuration I can do, for the embedded player?

    I might call Slingbox tomorrow to see if they can help.



    Thanks for the tip. Now when I launch the player, I check to see which quality is selected. If it's less than what I like, I manually set it to the best.

    How do I set the video quality on a Roku player? Do I set it from my phone first, before switching to show it on the Roku?

    Thanks for checking the thread and responding.

    Yeah, once I switched to the embedded player, it worked well on my home network. It worked with the HDMI right away.
     
  5. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    So, I used the SlingPlayer with the Roku last week, when I was remote.

    Here's my experience:

    * Overall, it worked well, and easily. Very little buffering issues. It would maybe need to buffer for 1/2 a second every 20 mins or so. That's very reasonable.

    * Also, the response time from hitting a button on my phone, and seeing the corresponding action on the TV, was about 1.5 - 2 seconds. Not bad. Definitely usable.

    However, if I wanted more granular time navigation control, then I can't really do that. If I want to fast forward, even if I hit fast forward then play right away, I have to accept that it will go ahead at least 1 - 2 mins, if not 3, by the time it plays at normal speed again. That's ok.

    I figured out how to reasonably fast forward through commercials, and have it stop at the beginning of the next segment, within some margin of error.

    * The one usability feature that seemed to be missing, was that the controls on my phone weren't the full Tivo remote. So if I was fast forwarding for a long period of time, the Tivo time navigation bar would stay on the screen. There wasn't a "clear" button I could hit, like I could on the Tivo remote, so that it would keep fast forwarding, but without the time navigation bar blocking the bottom portion of the screen.

    This was an issue because the time navigation bar blocked the scoreboard of the MLB game I was watching. If the game is looking like a blowout, I fast forward until the score looks closer, or there is an important moment in the game. I couldn't determine when to stop fast forwarding because this channel kept their scoreboard on the bottom, right where the Tivo time navigation was. Some channels keep their scoreboard at the top, some keep it at the bottom.

    So the lack of a "clear" button, like on the Tivo remote, seemed to be the one feature missing, when using my phone for controls.

    * The overall quality was pretty good, when watching on the Roku. However, it didn't appear to be the same HD as it would when using a PC player. Even when playing directly on my phone, looked better.

    It wasn't bad, as for the most part, it was fine. And I still enjoyed the experience. But there were a few times when I could tell the quality was reduced.

    The quality didn't improve over time, it stayed the same as it was once I launched it.

    The color of the grass also looked a bit off, as if it the color was compressed.

    @Series3Sub said it's possible to manually select the quality, when playing on a Roku? I'll have to try that next time and see if I can select the best. What options does it say? Does it say a specific resolution? Or does it say things like "HQ" and "SQ"? (high quality, standard quality)?

    Again, overall, it was a good few days. I could watch for hours, and no major issues. Just a minor one with the lack of a "clear" button. But if there's a way to improve the quality even more, then I want to try it. Otherwise it's ok.

    I am satisfied with this solution, and am glad I made the purchase.
     
  6. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    So far, I think the quality is the same when on my own LAN. But if you read my post above, it's not quite the same when remote and watching on someone's Roku. When a baseball is hit, then it's as you described.
     
  7. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    I just got a new router this June, the Asus RT86U. Very similar model.

    So far, I'm happy with the results on all of my devices, whether connected via hardwire, Blue Tooth, or Wi Fi.

    Maybe that's why the Slingbox 500 also looked good on my home network, when I was testing it.
     
  8. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Bump @mdavej.

    Do the rewind 7 seconds / skip ahead buttons work for you, on the embedded player?

    I just got off a support call with Slingbox.

    First they logged into my account and tried those buttons on an iPad. It worked.

    Then they tried it on the New Watch Sling Player. The buttons worked.

    I asked if they could try it on the embedded player. The support person said that he couldn't, because the only player he recommends is the New Watch player.

    He said "I don't know what that player is" of the embedded player.
     
  9. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Yes, all the buttons work. Perhaps you picked the wrong remote. Mine looks exactly like a TiVo remote.

    Of course Sling wants you to use the New player so they get the ad revenue.

    Please don’t press the matter with support. If they become aware embedded still exists, it might get shut down.
     
    osu1991 likes this.
  10. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Thanks.

    Yeah, mine also looks like a Tivo remote. When I use their new player, the same remote comes up and the buttons work.

    When I use the embedded player, the remote comes up but those two buttons don't work.

    Sure, I won't contact Slingbox tech support about the embedded player anymore.
     
  11. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    In regards to not having buttons on the virtual remote:

    1. As an earlier poster mentioned, it could be that you may have picked the TiVo virtual remote that does not match your model.

    2. Keep in mind that often the entire virtual remote is not displayed, which means that buttons may appear to be missing, but they're just outside of the display. You can move the virtual remote up or down in the screen to access the buttons that are not visible. You can also move the remote left and right anywhere on the screen according to your preference. You can also, using 2 fingers, increase the size of the remote or decrease the size of the remote on the display. So, perhaps the clear button is there but it's off the display. Try resizing or moving the remote around so that you can see the entire remote.

    The way to move the remote is to use one finger placed on the virtual remote leaving it on the virtual remote--BUT NOT ON ANY BUTTONS; ONLY THE PORTIONS OF THE VIRTUAL REMOTE THAT HAS NO BUTTONS--until you see a visual change indicating that you can now drag that remote anywhere you want up, down, left, right on the display. Again to increase or decrease the size of the remote, use two fingers and bring them close together or further apart just as you would other images on any mobile device.

    I hope that solves your problem for not having the clear button or other buttons visible and available because the virtual remotes on the Slingbox are exactly like the hardware remotes her specific model. They are absolutely identical in appearance and function as far as the specific device it is controlling.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 2:29 AM
  12. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    Also to attempt to answer the OP question as to why Slingbox does not have an app for Roku as it does for the Fire TV:

    There is a pretty fair cost for a company to develop an app. The Big Three operating systems for which some companies need to develop an app is Apple's iOS, Android, and the Roku OS. The fewer apps that need to be developed the better and less expensive the ongoing cost to maintain those apps. There are some companies that have chosen to focus on iOS and Android apps and not Roku OS in order to cut costs, and Sling Media and Dish are among those companies. The Fire TV uses a forked version of Android, so there isn't much additional cost if any to develop apps that will work for both Fire TV and Android devices.

    So this means that as far as connected devices it is Fire TV that gets a proper app for the Slingbox and Dish Anywhere. Android mobile devices also get a proper Slingbox and Dish Anywhere app, and iOS gets a proper Slingbox and Dish Anywhere app. Apple has a fair number of mobile devices in the hands of consumers that warrant the expense of developing an app for iOS, and Android is used by countless Brands and companies as the OS running its mobile devices, so it makes perfect sense to spend the money to develop apps for Android. However because Roku OS is the odd bird, that's where some companies choose to cut their cost because Roku OS is only functional on the Roku connected device (or those not terribly popular "Roku TV" or Roku built-in TV's), but not any mobile devices I know of.

    So, instead of developing an expensive app for the odd bird Roku OS, some companies, like Sling media, develop a sort of work around that requires you to use your mobile device to initiate and communicate with the Roku. It is not as elegant a solution as the full apps for Fire TV and iOS and Android mobile devices, but it gets the job done with the compromise of having to use your mobile device as a remote. Yes, the Fire TV app for Slingbox allows you to use the Fire TV remote for all functions and is easier and better experience in my opinion (all you have to do is select the app and it automatically loads and connects to the Slingbox all by itself), but it does not use a virtual remote that looks just like the TiVo hand remote. Instead, it uses the SlingPlayer on-screen menus and options using the Fire TV remote to navigate through it, and that does take a little getting used to, but once you get used to it it turns out okay.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 3:04 AM
    nuraman00 likes this.
  13. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes, I have no doubt that is why your Slingbox looks as good as it does. I was having problems with Slingbox picture quality with my previous routers that were old not up to snuff to modern demands, etc. it isn't just the capability of the modern chips but also the greater amount of memory in the modern routers. when I finally switched to a modern very capable router, not only did my Slingbox PQ greatly improve to the point of highly impressive, but all other manner of other problems I was experiencing disappeared.

    After all, I believe the reason TiVo officially keeps pushing MoCA to be used in regards to networking TiVo devices, is the very fact that TiVo knows that most people have terrible home networks with old, inadequate routers and awful WiFi, especially for the demands of networking multiple TiVo HD streams using, perhaps, not the most efficient codecs. With my current high-end router, I have all my Tivo's and Minis networked, along with the connected devices like Fire TV's, computers, and simultaneous HD video downloads or HD streams from Dish all using hard wired with gigabit switches with the gigabit router. All this and more happens with no hiccups. but you and I and a few others are still in the minority because the vast majority of people out there have absolutely abysmal home networks, and TiVo knows that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 3:35 AM
  14. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    I believe the original MSRP for the Slingbox 500 was $300, so an increase of $30 isn't bad at all considering that all Slingbox devices are no longer being manufactured. I believe I paid just a little under $300 (like $290?) at Amazon for one Slingbox 500 and the full $299 for my second Slingbox 500. I can't recall either the Slingbox 500 nor the M2 ever being sold at much of a discount. Even well before the end of manufacturing the slingboxes, I had seen some Slingbox 500's overpriced beyond MSRP especially on fleaBay, but both SOLD BY Amazon (I recall a 3rd party seller on Amazon asking MORE than MSRP) and the official Slingbox site were selling those boxes at MSRP, at least all the times I frequently checked their prices. of course, the M2 was less expensive than the SB500, but I forget by how much, but I seem to recall the M2 was significantly less then the SB500. The M2 had analog inputs only, no HDMI, and could only support one device and required set up through a PC on the internet. The 500 had composite, component, and HDMI inputs and allowed switching between two different devices using the very same Sling 500 box while also allowing the easier and more intuitive on-screen setup built into the sling 500 using the TV connected to the Slingbox 500. While not required for Slinging to work, all Slingboxes allow for pass-through of the video signal to allow viewing on the TV at all times.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 4:00 AM
  15. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Am I supposed to see the full virtual remote, even on the Sling player for an Android phone?

    Because what I see instead are a horizontal row of buttons, and that's it.

    I see something like this, not a full remote.

    [​IMG]

    I do see the full remote when I use the Sling web players.
     
  16. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Ok, I figured out how to get the clear button on the Android app. I tap on the picture of the remote, then go to the "All" tab, where it will display more buttons in addition to the time navigation ones shown above (in the previous post).

    Then one of the additional buttons is the clear one.

    Good to know, this will help.
     
  17. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Thanks. For some reason, I thought I read that the cost of the SLingbox 500 was under $100, when it was still being manufactured.

    But if you paid about $300, then that's similar to what I paid.
     
  18. nuraman00

    nuraman00 Member

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    Also, @Series3Sub, do you have any ideas as to why the skip behind 7 seconds, and skip ahead 30 seconds, work on the New Watch online web player, and work on the Android player, but not on the older embedded player, for me? They work for @mdavej.

    This is the older embedded player:

    Slingbox Player

    The virtual remote looks like my Tivo remote, so I think I picked the right remote. And the fact that it works on the two other players (the New Watch online player, and the Android player), also confirms that I configured the right one.
     

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