Used a Slingbox Pro?

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Used a Slingbox Pro?

Postposted on Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:27 pm

Has anyone on here got or used a Slingbox Pro?

I aquired one yesterday on sale, and I am shocked by the quality of the video over my own LAN, let alone going mobile on the BlackBerry. My PC connects to the router via WIFI at a steady 300MB/Sec, and the Slingbox is plugged right into the router at 100MB/Sec. Despite all this bandwidth being at it's disposal locally, the Slingbox Player software on the PC streams the video at 1400-1900 Kb/Sec at best. It will spend most of it's time in the 5-700 Kb/Sec range though.

Apparently, it will stream up to 8192 Kb/Sec over LAN according to Sling's website, but neither I nor any users on their forums can get it to even a quarter of this, and I dont understand why. I've done the obvious, and overide it's encoder settings to the max it supports, as per my screenie (Next to it is the LAN speed):

Image Image


Here's the result of that forced 8MB stream. Yes it looks that blocky, and yes it's hitting the maximum stream buffer (thats the white bars in the bottom right) at 448 Kb/Sec:

Image

I'm open to any suggestions on how to get this thing to increase it's streaming bitrate, otherwise it's going back. Even taking into account the slowest part of my LAN (The 100MB/Sec ethernet port on the slingbox), I fail to believe the best it can do is barely 2MB. I'm posting the request for help here in the hope I get a better answer than what I got on the Slingbox forums. I was told to keep as much RAM free as possible, and to not use WIFI because it creates extra latency and offers very poor thruput. Soooo, 8GB of RAM isn't enough then? :lol: And, even with overheads my WIFI connections actual thruput will (just) about saturate a standard 100MB ethernet connection - No one on the Sling site believed me though...

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geekl33tgamer
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Re: Used a Slingbox Pro?

Postposted on Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:22 pm

It'd be a good idea to eliminate the wireless for the moment.
...
mattsteg
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Re: Used a Slingbox Pro?

Postposted on Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:31 pm

what router are you using? you can check QoS settings if your router supports them or consider going the dd-wrt or tomato firmware route. also who is your ISP? bandwidth is very important with the slingbox...especially upstream. so it really doesn't matter that your wifi connection on your desktop is strong since that is downstream. it all matters what you upload speeds are on from you ISP. if you have dsl or satellite you will always get sub-par performance because of their poor upload speeds.

i shipped my slingbox to my parents house so i could watch chicago sports. they have comcast cable internet (10/2 Mbps) and i usually connect around 1700-1900Kbps on my stream. quality is average at best but it sure beats paying for the mlb or nfl season pass on your cable bill. the only other thing i can think of is stepping up to the slingbox hd if you want better picture quality. it will stream at 1080i where all other slingboxes are stuck streaming VGA quality (640x480). i am looking at this for my next upgrade! good luck.
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Re: Used a Slingbox Pro?

Postposted on Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:49 pm

ryko wrote:what router are you using? you can check QoS settings if your router supports them or consider going the dd-wrt or tomato firmware route. also who is your ISP? bandwidth is very important with the slingbox...especially upstream. so it really doesn't matter that your wifi connection on your desktop is strong since that is downstream. it all matters what you upload speeds are on from you ISP. if you have dsl or satellite you will always get sub-par performance because of their poor upload speeds.

i shipped my slingbox to my parents house so i could watch chicago sports. they have comcast cable internet (10/2 Mbps) and i usually connect around 1700-1900Kbps on my stream. quality is average at best but it sure beats paying for the mlb or nfl season pass on your cable bill. the only other thing i can think of is stepping up to the slingbox hd if you want better picture quality. it will stream at 1080i where all other slingboxes are stuck streaming VGA quality (640x480). i am looking at this for my next upgrade! good luck.

Thanks for the quick reply. The speed of my WIFI or Internet won't matter when I am trying to access the Slingbox stream locally over the LAN. I also believe the speed it shows is a network bus (total speed is shared amongst all WIFI connected clients), and runs at that speed in both ways just like ethernet connections do. Over my phoneline to access it externally I am hampered by my ISP's upstream speed of about 0.87 Mb/Sec and fully expect lower quality.

My router is a Netgear DGND3300 V2, and yeah, it supports custom firmwares from both camps, as well as Team-DG ones. I'm giving them a wide birth for the moment as my ISP's made IPv6 available, and believe it or not Netgear's own firmware is actually better at the moment if you use IPv6! I did look at Slingbox Pro HD, but it was expensive in PC World. I got the "old" Slingbox Pro for £105, down from £180 - The new one was £270 so it stayed in the store :o

mattsteg wrote:It'd be a good idea to eliminate the wireless for the moment.

I'll try anything once, and busted out my trusty CAT5. Better bitrate, and the buffer is higher. Still a tad blocky:

Image

I don't know if that's fully atributed to switching to Ethernet, or the fact I turned on QoS for the Sling's MAC and IP as per ryko's suggestion. I don't understand why it's slow if it is the WIFI, as I can pull files off my WHS using it at almost 100 Mb/Sec. Wireless N with the 5.4Ghz Wireless A layered over it is actually pretty decent for everything else I have used it on...?
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geekl33tgamer
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Re: Used a Slingbox Pro?

Postposted on Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:57 am

Whilst the wireless might be fast throughput it could also be dropping and retrying a packet here and there which modern TCP stacks will cope with quite well whilst a poorly implemented streaming protocol might find very hard to deal with.

For the blockiness, are you sure you have the settings right to match the source material? If it thinks it is interlaced and it is progressive (or the other way round) then things can look pretty bad, similarly on input size and frame rate (especially as you are in the UK and hence PAL at standard def rather than the North American NTSC).
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Re: Used a Slingbox Pro?

Postposted on Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:26 pm

I have the French version of the Slingbox Pro, but it has the same problem. The Slingbox Pro has four inputs: built-in tuner (antenna or cable), composite, S-video and component video (not HDMI). The built-in tuner can only do QVGA (320x200). If you look at your screenshots, you'll see that you are in QVGA mode. In QVGA mode, most of the time your bit rate will be less than 1 Mbps.

If you connect an external tuner, DVR or DVD player to any of the other inputs, you'll get VGA (640x320). In VGA mode, I get up to 6 Mbps for video with a lot of action.

I'm guessing that it's a problem of processing power to tune in the channel (MPEG 2 stream in France) and to reencode it for Slingbox format (WMV).

Even in VGA mode on a LAN, the picture quality is inferior to Standard Definition video. I believe the target market for Sling is expats and world travellers. For us, any picture is better than none.

Here's a screenshot from my Slingbox Pro with an external cable box connected to the S-video port running over my local network:

Image

I hope this helps.

americaninparis

P.S. The Android phone app is pretty good. You'll want an unlimited data plan if you use it over the Internet.
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