Slingbox for my Roamio?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Agrajag, May 1, 2020.

  1. May 1, 2020 #1 of 20
    Agrajag

    Agrajag Member

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    I've been debating what my next step is and one of the options is to add a Slingbox to my setup, but I want to understand it all better. I have a Roamio OTA (lifetime) with a cable card that works just fine. I also added a TiVo Stream and that's been nothing but a headache akin to playing roulette with even worse odds. It always connects, but almost never has the Play icon to allow me to play what's recorded. Even when it works, much of the content it restricted. TiVo needs to do MUCH better than this if it's going to survive.

    The Slingbox seems like one huge bandaid on the surface to me, one that will cost me hundreds of dollars -- and thus my TiVo setup would end up being nearly $1,000 to get a decent STB. At those rates it almost makes it worth putting up with the lousy FiOS DVR. Plus it appears as if it needs another entire ethernet port and component cables? So I'm assuming this is grabbing content either before or after the TiVo? Where is the content stored?

    Do I really need to spend several hundred dollars on this to get reliable streaming in other rooms and while on the road as the cost to wanting a TiVo STB?

    Thanks. I don't mean to sound harsh, but just want to clearly lay out the hurdles.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  2. May 1, 2020 #2 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    A Slingbox is used for streaming video over the internet to other devices, phones would need the slingbox app to watch. The connection to the Roamio would be through a Audio/video converter cable to the A/V port in the back, Composite connection to slingbox, yellow/audio white/red. It would also need to control the Tivo through the IR window in front. It would also change the channel if someone is watching at home. Nothing is stored in the slingbox, so no Tivo features like REW/FF.

    The Tivo stream works by letting you watch on online.tivo.com or the Tivo app.

    If you are going to add a Tivo to another room for lower cost, get a Mini for the TV in there. Mini and Roamio would need either Ethernet and/or MoCa connection (network through Coax). Mini has built-in MoCa, but your Roamio needs a MoCa adapter or use Ethernet. You can then add a slingbox to the Mini and can watch on that TV or out of home, without changing channel on Roamio if someone else is watching there. Mini has lifetime Tivo service included.
     
  3. May 1, 2020 #3 of 20
    Agrajag

    Agrajag Member

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    No real interest in another TiVo box as there is no TV where else I'd watch. This is all about getting my DVR content from the TiVo to my laptop either while in another room or on the road. Zero odds of someone else watching as my wife doesn't watch cable. Thanks for the explanation. So essentially the Slingbox is just literally acting like a human selecting content on the TiVo as if I'm in front of it and then when I click play it plays on both the TiVo and over the Slingbox to wherever I'm at? If that's the case I'm a bit confused about controls. Shouldn't I still be able to FF/RW, pause and such, just as if I were there?
     
  4. May 1, 2020 #4 of 20
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Controls would be on the app being used on the phone, for example. With online.tivo.com, its within the screen showing the content.
     
  5. May 1, 2020 #5 of 20
    Agrajag

    Agrajag Member

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    Thanks. That's fine.
     
  6. May 1, 2020 #6 of 20
    mmmm_beer

    mmmm_beer New Member

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    The Tivo Slingbox interface is a little clunky and slow but it does the job. Each button press takes a second or three to register but luckily you aren't pressing tons of buttons once a show starts. It pulls the A/V from the component cables on the Tivo and has an IR dongle that relays the remote button presses. On the Slingbox side, they break the remote into either a full remote or sections (i.e. numbers, vol up/down, channel up/down, play, record, etc), something that needs a little getting used to. The best part of using a Slingbox is that you can play ALL the protected content that Tivo (and Cox) won't let you do out of the home. Their video also works way better over slow connections than Tivo's stream.

    The sad part about using a Slingbox, is that it is an abandoned product and slowing becoming more useless. They are no longer actively updating their apps. Their Slingplayer for Android has been removed from the Play Store, their MacOS Slingplayer only works with previous MacOS versions (Catalina requires 64bit support, app is 32bit) and the most recent Roku firmware update rendered the Slingplayer app useless. I love the concept and it has been worth it for me, but if you were going to use one of the devices I just mentioned you will have no way to use your hardware.
     
    elorimer and compuguy like this.
  7. May 1, 2020 #7 of 20
    Agrajag

    Agrajag Member

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    Thanks. That pretty much kills that approach off for me. Glad I didn't pull that trigger. Plus I noticed my Roamio doesn't have component jacks at all, further complicating things. In the age of YouTubeTV, where ubiquitous access is a give, this is just an unacceptable negative.
     
  8. May 2, 2020 #8 of 20
    elorimer

    elorimer Member

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    The older Mini has the component out that works with a Slingbox. That is a path; every other solution means out-of-home watching is limited to about six stations for me.

    I agree with @mmmm_beer though. Sling failed to support Every.Single.Product they ever made. They also made two similar things, the M1 and the M2, and then reneged on the no-ad promise they made for the M1. The only thing they ever followed through on was killing off the Vulkano, a superior product in every way. It does offer a path to watch protected content, so I still use it.

    The latest travesty was pulling the Slingplayer for Tablets from the Play Store without warning. If you ever had to reset your device, what you had was gone forever. It worked fine on a Chromebook, but since you often powerwash a Chromebook it is not durable.
     
  9. May 3, 2020 #9 of 20
    Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Agrajag, please read the following:

    No, Sloingbox is NOT an abandoned product. They no longer manufacture the Slingbox (for quite some time) but they will continue to function indefinitely. NO, they have NOT removed all SlingPlayer apps for iOS and Google Play. Slingbox very recently removed several of its confusing variations of the SlingPlayer apps for iOS and Android and now focus on a single app to provide for iOS and Android: the FREE version, I believe. Further (IIRC), the Fire TV app is still FREE and available. The SlingPlayer app for Fire TV allow you to view your Slinged video on a BIG screen TV with good to excellent PQ (depending upon your internet connection).

    IMPORTANT: only the latest models, the M2 (and the M1 will unofficially work as well IIRC) and Slingbox 500 are officially sanctioned to work as advertised. All older models of Slingbox are LEGACY although some report they can still use them, but they were never updated for switch from browser extension to SlingPlayer for PC or Mac, and Sling Media considers those LEGACY models to be unsupported and no longer guaranteed to function. The M2 (and M1) only have ANALOG inputs and outputs while the 500 has both ANALOG and HDMI inputs and outputs and the 500 can accommodate TWO different devices connected at the same time for viewing one at a time. For example: I have TiVo DVR connected via HDMI and Dish Hopper 3 connected via Component, and I can choose which I want to watch, so I don't need two separate Slingboxes for two different devices.

    I own and use TWO Slingbox 500's and use them very frequently and they are far and above more reliable and do the job that TiVo Stream (I also own a TiVo Stream) could NEVER do, and you can stream DRM restricted content via either HDMI (employing a special trick) or Component. The Slingbox 500 can have up to 2 different devices connected (1 with HDMI and the other with Component or Composite) and you can switch between the 2 and Sling whichever you want to watch one at a time. I and other TiVo users still use our Slingboxes as the ONLY reliable streaming device to get not only LAN but also Out of Home streaming and ALL content with no restrictions, and YES you can use HDMI to Sling ALL DRM content to your remote location or the next room using one simple method explained in a thread below.
    (One important point is that the Slingplayer no longer works with any Roku product. The limitations of the Roku devices allowed for only a pretty awkward, and inferior experience to watch SlingPlayer anyway.)

    Rather than re-typing all the data again, here is a thread that has a TON of info on getting Slingbox done right, how to use the HDMI for streaming DRM content and lots more to help you make your decision, but please be aware that the Thread Starter was making things complicated and really was overly-confused, but we got it going right for his skill set. It really is FAR more SIMPLE a set-up than the thread starter goes through, but I think he was pretty new to ALL tech. It'll be a very simple process for you:

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

    Please pay special note to MY postings and the thread STARTER'S postings as he asks a lot of questions and I guide him through the forest to understand How Slingbox works and how to get what he wants. I HIGHLY recommed getting a Slingbox if you really want LAN or OOH reliable streaming of your content on TiVo. Just be aware that the Slingbox will "take over" or be in control of the TiVo DVR or Mini you have the Slingbox connected to. That means that no one else can use that DVR or Mini if you want to stream from it at the same time as someone at home wants to use it. People at home CAN use that same TiVo DVR or Mini when you are NOT Slinging content, so it can be shared or, as in my case, I have a separate TiVo DVR and Dish Joey (equivalent of a TiVo Mini--BUT even BETTER) reserved for my or, more often, other people's use for Streaming exclusively and the 2nd 500 is connected to my personal H3 and TiVo Roamio for my personal use. Some TiVo users connect to either the DVR or the Mini based on how the household uses or does NOT use the TiVo product the Slingbox is connected.

    The best of luck and let us know what you decide.

     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  10. elorimer

    elorimer Member

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    So they did two things. One was they removed the Slingplayer for Tablet app from the Play Store, and now there is only the Slingplayer for Phone app. If you install that on a tablet or Chromebook, you get a phone-formatted vertical screen in the middle of your screen, with the remote control stuff inaccessible. Completely useless. If you had the Tablet app installed, you could continue to use it, but if you uninstall it or powerwash your Chromebook you are forever out of luck. I still have it on a tablet, but I've lost it now on three Chromebooks. The other thing is if you had the M2/M1 with no ads (I forget which one), the free app has ads regardless.

    I called tech support when it happened, and the person I spoke to started a ticket and took my email. Never heard further. It reminded me of the 350 that I had that was disabled without warning.
     
  11. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    Sling had announced the end of Tech Support at the time they announced they would cease production of the Slingboxes. Hmm. I'm impressed Sling Media decided to continue tech support. Good job, Sling. I've never required tech support, but I am pleased you got it, and glad they opened a ticket. Well, that would put Sling about no worse than TiVo's current less than stellar tech support we experience since Rovi took over.

    The 350, along with all the other previous models, are not compatable with the SlingPlayer for PC, which was a method forced upon Sling Media and many other companies.

    I have FREE SlingPlayer apps loaded for phones and tablets, and I get no ads. However, I do have a number of security and privacy apps loaded. I double checked, and I do have FREE versions and I don't know why I never get ads.

    Correct: SlingPlayer App for tablets no longer available. However, a Chomebook is a . . . well, kindly put, is a Chromebook: a product designed with significant limitations and capability to bring down the retail price of a device engineered for only the lightest possible use, and that is how Chromebook (a faux laptop) is marketed along with the less versatile Chrome OS. It does not suprise me that your experience shoehorning a phone App onto a the less capable Chrome OS got you crazy results. There were a few days I could only connect with my Slingboxes, using PC, through the website and VIEW, but then, a few days later, I could, once again, connect launching the Player exclusively. It may have been due to some cookies I wiped, and fixing HTTPS Everywhere.

    I, too, already have the Sling App for Tablet on my tablets, so I can't say what the experience is for SlingPlayer app for phone on a proper tablet. However, my experience with Android phone vs. tablet apps--I would only expect the worst from Chrome OS and its lightweight Chromebook (and I have installed a number of phone apps on my tablets, including video apps) is that the menu design is the only noticeable difference: a layout of menus more efficient for the smaller phone screens, and a different menu design to take advantage of the larger tablet screen, but they have always scaled video properly. It would be useful for someone to load the SlingPlayer phone app on a proper tablet and report the experience.

    And, yes, even LastPass has removed its app from Amazon store and abondoned all Fire tablets. Booh Hoo for me, but I have proper tablets for such LastPass uses and use my Fire tablet for limited uses (its low price makes economical sense for limited use than paying more for a proper tablet with worse specs).

    Sorry about your Chromebook, but I would recommend a proper, value priced, large screen (at least 10") Android tablet over a Chromebook any day, and those value Android tablets (also offered from major brands) are quite powerful enough. Otherwise, one is best off getting a value, but proper laptop. Everyone I know who purchased a Chromebook had regretted it. Chromebooks are a false economy product for the vast majority of what people really want from such a device. Chromebooks are better suited for educational institutions for mass distribution with educators designing/converting content expressly for Chromebook limitations.

    So, from the Slingbox website, SlingPlayer for PC is not mentioned in any of the announcements regarding the end of availability of PAID versions of phone Apps for Sling and the app for tablets, and the App for Fire TV was specifically stated as still active and available.

    To Summerize ways to view Slinged content officially available today:

    1. PC or Laptop (Windows) using SlingPlayer for PC. Launch SlingPlayer or go to Slingbox website and select WATCH to be taken through the process.

    2. SlingPlayer for Phone FREE version for iOS or Android (could load on tablet and see if functions). *Tablets with SlingPlayer for tablets already loaded can still use that App indefinitely, but no longer offered in App Stores.

    3. SlingPlayer for Fire TV (has always been free) to view on large HDTV in great PQ.

    OK, so the only real missing mobile device for viewing Slinged content is the official App for Tablet, likely a cost cutting move because tablet sales have been for years and still are low and still shrinking. I hardly see anyone with a tablet (although more with laptops) in public; it's the phones that dominate, and while I do use a few tablets to ocassioally watch Slinged streams within my LAN, I use my Fire TV most often within LAN and always my phone OOH.

    As for big computer and laptop, it's the App for Mac that no longer makes economic sense to upgrade because of Apple's much smaller sales numbers compared to Windows. But SlingPlayer App for iPad and SlingPlayer App for iPhone are still available from Sling.

    Overall, Slingbox is still a good way to stream content from countless devices to PC, Laptops, iOS, Android, and Fire TV. These still offer a wide array of devices and Windows PC and Laptop to watch your content from DVD's and DVR's and more with sufficient options across many devices. Slingbox is still quite a viable solution.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  12. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Slinbox will Sling to your Laptop (Windows), and yes you can do EVERYTHING (FF, REW, etc.) you can do as if you were there in the room with the TiVo still today and indefinitely. Please read my post above in response to elorimer for summary of ways to view Slinged content today. The summary title is in bold lettering and underlined.
     
  13. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    OK, here is the Slinbox webpage for supported device Apps. I beleve Sling was required to take down no longer supported Apps from the official Apple and Google Play stores, but those apps appear as still available from Slingbox website for download, but those taken down from Stores will have no more updates. So, those with tablets seem able to download the App from the Slingbox website.

    Slingbox.com - Slingplayer Apps
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  14. MikeekiM

    MikeekiM Palindromer

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    I have the configuration the OP is thinking about... A TiVo Roamio OTA with a Slingbox attached to it. Actually, to be completely accurate, I didn't want to risk having my remote viewing disrupt any of the household televisions, so it is actually hooked up to a dedicated TiVo Mini, which is connected to my TiVo Roamio OTA.

    I have found the Slingbox experience to be clunky, but reasonably reliable. Yes, the button action delay is about 1-2 seconds, and you need to adjust your behavior to make that work. But my use case is not jumping all over the place. My use case is largely to watch my recorded content and maybe do a quick 6-second replay every so often if I want to rewatch something that I may have missed or mis-heard. It works fantastic for my use case. Yes, it takes a while to queue up the right video with all of the button delays, but that's the price I pay for remote access to my content (sometimes half-a-world away).

    What has soured me a bit is the lack of Mac support. And I guess to be fair, it's not the lack of Mac support as much as it is the lack of Catalina (the latest MacOS). Catalina only supports 64-bit applications, and the Sling app is a 32-bit app. So now I have to either watch on my phone, or I can launch a Windows VM within my Mac and watch on a the Windows-based app.

    I won't say that this solution has "saved me life"...LOL... But I will say that when I am on business travel, it has reliably supported my use case of watching pre-recorded content from start-to-finish with occasional "replay" action.

    All that said, I am probably going to part with this solution and do some cost recovery on eBay. I no longer travel as much as I used to, and the lack of direct Catalina Mac support has me a bit soured. So probably am going to put up both my dedicated TiVo Mini and my Slingbox 500 350 at some point... I simply don't use it anymore...
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  15. elorimer

    elorimer Member

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    If you click on the link for Slingplayer for Tablets you will see it is a dead link.
     
  16. osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

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    I have my Slingbox 350's connected to a Tivo Mini also and view via the iOS ipad app, the fire tv app and via the computer. Yes there is a slight delay in button presses, skipmode negates that on many recordings. Ours are now mainly used to watch Las Vegas locals in Oklahoma when not in Vegas. Since using YoutubeTV and Philo, the Tivos and sling are not used regularly. I should probably sell some of these extras.
     
  17. MikeekiM

    MikeekiM Palindromer

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    Oops...mine is a 350 too... I'll go back and fix my post... :)

    I've owned two others before my 350...the Slingbox Pro, and the Slingbox ProHD... Both ended up dying, and I replaced it with the 350...
     
  18. elorimer

    elorimer Member

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    Not sure I follow this sentence, but I have the Sling App for Tablet on a 2013 Nexus 7, and it works fine. If I uninstall it, though, I don't think I can ever get it back.

    I guess we will disagree on this. I travel with an $89 ruggedized Chromebook that is fine for RDP to my Windows work computer, and fine for Netflix, Plex and local video from the SD card, mostly because I don't have to worry if it is lost, stolen, dropped, rained on or otherwise abused. The only thing it could do and now can't is stream from my Slingbox. My grandkids have Macs, so they are not part of the 60% educational market, but otherwise it would be fine to hand to a kid to watch something from home.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  19. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    I figured that because that has been the case with earlier ended . . . I could not remember Apps or something. Glad you clicked for us. I was in a rush.
     
  20. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    I've developed the habit of pressing the skip back button TWICE to compensate for the slight delay so that the result is being about 7-10 back. I think part of the delay is that Slingbox had made a decision to have smooth constant playback without dropping video (as TiVo Stream drops video on occasion). The meant that Slingbox buffers (and delays quite a fair amount of video/audio before it sends it out to stream so that the result is constant, stable flow of image and sound compared to other streaming device--such as the TiVo stream. So by consequence, the commands sent to the DVR are affecting video that will be buffered at least a few seconds, but sometimes like 4 or more seconds, in memory before the stream is sent out for viewing to the remote location and we see the command take effect and has not been sent out to the remote location.

    I think Sling made the better choice of taking the time to que a stable video/audio stream over getting the stream out as quickly as possible that will result in drop-outs.
     

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