Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful for Slingbox

      Slingbox PRO-HD
     As the year ends, I must let everyone know that I am thankful for Slingbox.  This has been one of the most important pieces to the Hong Kong transition for both Mary Barbara and me.  I owe my brother and sister-in-law a big thanks for setting up the slingbox and being the custodians of our connection to the US and US TV.
    When Mary Barbara and I were researching our potential move over to Hong Kong, we would ask US expats what they missed most and almost to a person the number 1 answer was US TV. So we started doing our research and someone suggested Slingbox.
    Slingbox is a device put out by Sling Media. My brother placed a cable DVR in his house hooked up to his cable, internet and to our slingbox. It is placed in his house and then programmed with an email address and password. Anyone around the world with this email address and password can access the entire cable system that my brother gets at his house. We have an extra laptop so we have it plugged into our TV and log in and get a full very clear, good reception and good picture.  Up on the TV screen pops the same remote that he uses and allows us all the features that his cable system provides.  We have purchased a wireless computer Keyboard/Mouse and use it to operate our laptop sitting on the couch, just like home remote. If my brother’s cable system goes out, then we are in trouble. It has only happened once so far. Steve got on the phone to slingbox tech support out of Puerto Rico, while talking to me on computer in Hong Kong. Several times I have gotten WV games via slingbox here in Hong Kong when my friends in the US could not get the game at all.

writing on laptop, keyboard remote for slingbox

     Watching all the US programs has been great and for me, it allowed me to watch almost every WVU football game and now have started watching the WVU basketball games that are televised. Although the football team has not had a banner year, having slingbox has allowed me not to become too homesick by watching the games, while talking on the computer to my friends and family. It is not uncommon for me to be watching a WVU game, talking to my friend Drew and my brother Steve on the laptop at the same time. I have watched slingbox in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan, China and even Guam. I have watched it in the airport lounges while waiting on a flight. It is an amazing device that allows me to stay connected to the US.  I did get tired of the Machin versus Rease WV governor’s race and please can we stop the Sara McLaughlin humane society commercials.

Slingbox has clear picture to TV--Watching Bowl games
        One of the challenges has been watching live sporting events. If the game starts at noon in the US, that means I must be up at midnight or 1am in Hong Kong to watch the game live. I did this pretty much all year which led to some tired next days. I always hope that WVU will have an evening game as this allows me to get up in the morning and watch the game live. Several times when they were having an evening game, Mary Barbara would make it a tailgate breakfast. We miss going to the games with our friends.  With the DVR it allows us to record our favorite programs which may be when we are working. One of Mary Barbara and my favorite things is to watch the Amazing Race together that we recorded when I get home from the road. We have spent several hours this holiday season watching Christmas shows on Hallmark channel.
     I would recommend Slingbox to any parent who is sending their child to college. The cost of the unit is around $250. There are no additional fees at that point. We do have a separate DVR box at my brother’s house which runs around $11 a month. So the yearly charge for sling box to a college student would be minimal as all they need is high speed internet.
      This Holiday season I must say I am thankful for technology as we have been video skyping, watching our slingbox, emails, Mary Barbara on facebook and of course our Iphones. These items have made our transition to Hong Kong so much easier and allowed us to keep in touch with family and friends. It was wonderful to watch Mary Barbara skyping with her family in Cleveland, San Diego, Athens and Charlotte. It was great to see Andrew yelling into the camera yelling my name so he could get all the attention. It was great commiserating with Drew and Steve at every bad turn (some good) for the WVU football games this year.  Thank all our family and friends; it has been a great year, one we will remember forever.

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