Expat Tech: Slingbox

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but before I left for Buenos Aires, I decided it would be nice to watch some U.S. TV stations and shows while I was here. Watching my DVR would be great too, and I also wanted to be able to watch Michigan football games this fall. Luckily, The Slingbox comes to the rescue.

The Slingbox lets you watch your TV over the Internet on any connected PC, Mac or mobile phone. The small box plugs into your TV on one end and high-speed Internet connection on the other.  An infrared controller attaches to your cable box and controls the functions of it (including your DVR). You then simply install the SlingPlayer software on your laptop or mobile phone and connect.  You’re now watching and controlling your home TV from wherever you are. (You can check out their flash video for a better explanation.)

All right, so this tech trick requires some setup before you leave (or a friend willing to set it up for you), a working high-speed Internet connection and cable TV, but if you have some place to set it up, it works pretty well.  I have the SlingPlayer software running on my wireless laptop and connected to the TV with an S-video cable. A wireless mouse lets me control the on-screen remote from the couch.  Now, I won’t have to miss any episodes of The Daily Show even though I’m thousands of miles away and I can still skip the commercials!