slingbox is being discontinued, any viable alternatives?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by tivoknucklehead, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Jetspeedz

    Jetspeedz Member

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    Dec 19, 2014

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    Never heard of this ,what can't this do that slingbox does?
     
  2. wizwor

    wizwor Guest

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    I have a Recast and Echo Shows all over my home. One is a 10" Show on my kitchen counter. Besides watching OTA via the Recast, I can ask for substitutes, recipes, and answer phone calls hands free. I can also add things to my shopping list.
    I have a 10" show on my desk as well. That is my alarm, phone, and sometimes television.

    I use an HDHomeRun for this. Run the app on a laptop right at the antenna.

    Outside my home, I watch my OTA via an AirTV Anywhere DVR.
     
  3. mikemaheno

    mikemaheno New Member

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    Sep 29, 2011
    Am very interested, but I would prefer to continue to use Slingbox, if there was a way.
    Have been using for more than 15 years. Since the first weekend it was introduced. I use it mostly traveling, which is often. It is almost flawless.
     
  4. Jetspeedz

    Jetspeedz Member

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    You and me both, but this means someone has to decompile the APK, use Smali to edit it which is not easy and not legal under the license agreement. Unless sling opens up the source which i doubt it will come to an end sadly.
     
  5. Jim1348

    Jim1348 Well-Known Member

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    Jan 3, 2015

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    Which Slingbox do you have?
     
  6. Jetspeedz

    Jetspeedz Member

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    Dec 19, 2014
    Slingbox Pro HD
     
  7. tiv0 newbie

    tiv0 newbie Member

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    Aug 27, 2015
    Commander, I am interested in exactly something like this.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. commander

    commander New Member

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    May 18, 2015
    Here is my findings of a pretty fully functional Slingbox alternative:

    Ever since Slingbox sent the email saying in two years that my slingbox will stop working, I decided to create my own alternative solution.

    NOTE: This method does require some technical knowledge, but it's far from rocket science, and once you set it up, you will be very pleased with the results.

    My final working solution consisted of two components:

    Uray H.265 Encoder - https://amzn.to/2MzTstO ($228 amazon)

    Broadlink IR Controller/Blaster - https://amzn.to/3oAJwhj ($24 amazon)

    TechFlow made a video that is decent overall explanation of how the systems works. However, with my setup, instead of having a separate HDMI splitter, Capture Device and Computer, the above Uray encoder does the work of all three of those items:



    (you can ignore a lot of this video that talks about setting up the encoder on the PC because the URay encoder does all of that for you)

    Whats also nice about the Uray encoder is that:

    1. It supports H.265 encoding, which can provide the same video quality of H.264, but using HALF the bitrate.

    2. It provides FOUR simultaneous video stream outputs. This will allow you to setup different streams that use different bitrates/quality for various connection qualities of the viewing app. Each stream also has a stream type url suffix. As in the below example, we will be using the RSTP url suffix of "/0".
    Basically:

    1. Part one of the Slingbox replacement equation is to setup the encoder. The HDMI converter connects "in series" (no splitter needed) between your video source (Tivo/Sat/Cable box) and your HDMI TV. It converts the HDMI signal into a streaming format out onto your home network.

    2. The encoder connects to your house network using a wired Ethernet connection. It is then assigned a fixed IP address - usually 192.168.1.168. (port 80)

    3. Your home internet connection is also assigned a particular IP address on the internet. To find out your home's IP address, just go to What Is My IP? - See your real public IP address - IPv4 - IPv6. This IP address typically stays the same for broadband users, but can change, especially when you reboot your modem. Write down your home's IP address. For the example below, we will use "34.178.28.12"

    4. In order for someone (you) on the internet to connect into the streaming output of the encoder, you need to setup a "port forwarding" rule in your home's router that will route an incoming stream request to the encoder's IP address and Port (80) on your home network. So, for example, you could setup a port forwarding rule that would route any connection requests on port 10000 to internal network ip 192.168.1.168 port 80. This way, when a viewing app wants to connect to your stream it would use the internet address of rtsp://34.178.28.12/0:10000 (notice the RTSP stream type url suffix of /0 followed by the incoming port number of 10000 - separated with a colon)

    5. A lot of the encoder settings you can leave as is. However, I would make one change to the audio setting - change it from the default sample rate of 41000 to 48000. It will just give you clearer high-end "sibilance" (the "S" sound in words like "Special") with hardly any increase in stream bitrate.

    6. Part two of the slingbox replacement equation is how to view the stream. This is easily accomplished with the VLC app as shown in the video. Many platforms (Windows/iOS/Android/Amazon Fire Stick, etc) have a version of the VLC player app in it's store. Just select "Open Network Stream" from within VLC and type in the above network address to your home's encoder to view the stream.

    7. The final part of the slingbox replacement equation is how do you remotely control your Tivo/Cable/Sat box to change channels, Play/Pause/Rew/FF, etc). This is easily accomplished with a remote IR controller/blaster such as the BroadLink RM4. Basically, you place the circular broadlink device in front of your Tivo/Cable/Sat box and it will transmit the desired IR codes to your box to perform the various requested functions remotely. You would then install the Broadlink app on your device and configure it to your Box's make and model so it will know the correct codes to send to your box.
    You will then end up with this resulting setup:

    A) The encoder will be streaming whatever video is coming out of your Tivo/Cable/Sat box 24/7.

    B) You would then run a VLC player app on a device like a Fire stick using your stream URL to view the stream.

    C) You would then control your box using the Broadlink app. Keep in mind, depending on the stream type you use, there can be a multiple-second delay between when you press a button in the broadlink app to when you "see" the response of the button on the video stream - this is due to streaming buffering.

    There are some gotchas:

    1. When you want to watch the stream on your android or iOS device, and since the viewing app (VLC) is running on the same device as the Broadlink IR app, you will have to keep switching back and forth to manage your box and view the stream.

    2. The whole reason we are here today is because our slingboxes need to use a cloud server to work, and it is being shut down. The broadlink device (and just about any other internet connected device) also needs a cloud server to work. So, the remote-control part of this alternative solution could also stop working if Broadlink goes out of business. However, there are other companies that offer a remote IR control product, so switching to another device should be painless.

    3. If your home's IP address ever changes, you will have to change the stream URL accordingly. Advanced Tip: You could use a DDNS service like dnydns.org and configure your router to it so that you would always have a fixed ip alias like "myhome.dyndns.org" that will stay the same regardless if your home network IP address every changes.
    Luckily, being a developer, I am currently creating a custom Android app that will allow me to both play the video and control my Tivo from the same app using a different IR blaster that doesn't require a cloud server, so I won't have to switch back and forth between apps and don't have to worry anymore about "surprises" from a company shutting down.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
  9. tiv0 newbie

    tiv0 newbie Member

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    Aug 27, 2015
    Thanks Commander!!! That looks very promising!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. Jetspeedz

    Jetspeedz Member

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    Dec 19, 2014
    You are better off asking Sling for permission to modify the app to bypass their servers and use ddns or static ip for owners to direct connect.
     
  11. commander

    commander New Member

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    May 18, 2015
    They will most probably never offer support or even permission to modify any of their apps :(

    But being a developer I can create an app that would run on both android devices and on an Amazon Firestick and Android TV. And I can add custom features like a single button press will send six 30 sec skip commands to skip over most commercial breaks (for shows that don't have "skip" feature), etc.

    I have complete control without any worries of some company going out of business and bringing everything to a stop.
     
  12. Jetspeedz

    Jetspeedz Member

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    I assume you mean developing an app for Uray or some other hardware and not Slingbox.

    Getting a little ahead of myself here, even if Sling gives you the source to the App, you would need the API to the Slingbox HW firmware as well because it does not matter what changes you make to the app if the Firmware in the HW is looking for some handshake from the Sling servers going offline. You would need to rewrite the firmware for the HW and that is another feat.

    That said, the same for what you are proposing for what ever hardware you are trying to develop an app to. If you are talking about using rtsp from VLC that is one way but than the level of integration between multiple devices is not as seamless. still better than nothing. I just don't have the time to dig into this right now. Preferably I would like to work solely on the sling app assuming the HW is not looking for some authentication or handshake and possible reroute via local firewall or some other intricate re-route but that is down the road. I digress, anyway good luck
     
  13. commander

    commander New Member

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    May 18, 2015
    Yes, like I said I am developing an "Android" app that will replace the slingplayer app (and will not use a slingbox at all) and it can receive an HLS video stream and display/play it. The Uray encoder can output multiple formats such as RTSP and HLS and TS. The app will also directly communicate (no cloud service needed) with an IR blaster at my house to send the commands to control my Tivo from the same custom android app.

    It's my opinion that sling will never release its source or help in any way to modify their app or firmware to work without their servers. Their interface is proprietary so it would be a huge effort to reverse-engineer. I remember when sling apps could directly connect to slingboxes, that there was an "admin" and "viewer" password and you would use a windows app to setup and assign those passwords to the box. But when sling changed the connection to go through their cloud servers, I don't know what changes they made to the login protocol to get into the box itself. So that would be another headache to figure out.

    My solution uses well-known and established standards and protocols, so it can be adapted to different display devices much more easily without having to reverse-engineer anything.
     
  14. Jetspeedz

    Jetspeedz Member

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    Dec 19, 2014
    My slingboxes still have those options to setup Admin and Viewer accounts and I can still use the desktop player to connect to them. It depends on the model not so much a system change across sling devices. the Classic and HD-PRO use the old method and still work fine. When they went the way of HDMI with the new devices that is when those device setup changed. When they sunset i might just release something on github if i get permission from sling for the older devices.
     
  15. commander

    commander New Member

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    May 18, 2015
    I got the impression from some post I read a while back that the "new" way how sling's servers access my boxes is with a "device ID" and that's it - no password.

    And that there is currently a way to find out the device id of each of my boxes now while the sling servers are working. But once the sling servers go down, it may be impossible to find out a box's ID number.

    Then in theory using my above assumptions, you could modify a sling player app to access a box directly using it's ID (if you know it).

    Maybe someone could find and post the steps required to figure out your box's ID (because I forgot where I saw this) so that it might come in handy when slings server's are turned off.
     
  16. Jetspeedz

    Jetspeedz Member

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    Dec 19, 2014
    You can find the sligh ID using the desktop PC app right now. At least I can view it for my devices.
     
  17. JoeM09

    JoeM09 New Member

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    Nov 17, 2016
    I used this article to build a replacement for my failed slingbox 500.
    A Slingbox On Steroids — Streaming Your Entire Home Theater Anywhere In Real Time - Parsec | Blog
    Notes:
    I skipped step 4, it is for online gammers.
    The 1x2 splitter is used to defeat (bypass) the HDCP in the HDMI signal if it is used by the cable company.
    Connected TV to pc HDMI instead of splitter which adds the Call Clerk caller ID pop up to the TV without any external servers now that IFTTT is no longer supported.
    Might be able to use Team Viewer instead of Parsec to use on IOS/Android clients.
    I was able to use a Core I3 series 10xxx CPU.
     

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