by Staff Writer
December 1, 2010
OverviewYou can now watch your home TV on your iPad wherever you go with the official SlingPlayer mobile for iPad. Up to this point you could only use the iPhone version at double pixel on the iPad, but now you can watch high quality of any stations you have at home whether it's satellite, cable, or even DVR recordings. The app is $29.99, and offers a brand new interface redesigned for the iPad.
FeaturesThe app has a new guide system that is made for the iPad with easy scroll, flick, and tap controls to get to what you want to watch fast. You can use SlingPlayer on your iPad over WiFi or 3G to watch live TV or recordings, and it allows you to schedule new recordings, and pause and fast forward. SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad does require Slingbox SOLO or Slingbox PRO-HD, and doesn't work with any other models unlike the iPhone version.
The GoodThere is no video service on the iPad like SlingPlayer. Rather than getting a select few video outlets you get all of the ones you currently have on your home TV. There’s no need to sign up for a separate service just to watch on your iPad, and you might as well get some more use out of your current TV plan no matter where you go. Once you set up your SlingPlayer and then login to your iPad you have access to every TV station you already pay for and can watch them on high quality which looks great on the iPad. The video looks great running on your iPad in high quality, which does require a high quality WiFi connection, but is so worth it. The standard quality over a slower internet connection on your iPad end looks good, and can still be enjoyed. There is a really well made interface designed specifically for the iPad to let you maneuver your home TV box with ease. The biggest change is the brand new guide which is made for the iPad, easily scrollable, and you just flick and tap to maneuver through all your channels. You can also easily access your DVR, and watch any of those recordings with a different interface to pause, fast forward, and skip around. You can record new shows as well, and can always jump back to live TV. You can go back to the guide to change the channels or you can flick up and down on the screen to change channel, or enter the number manually. There is also a deluxe interface giving access to nearly every TV control you could think of.
The BadThe main problem with the app is that it doesn't work with older SlingBox models, and limits use to only two models, Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD. This leaves a lot of current customers with no way to use the iPad app without upgrading their hardware which at minimum with the $59 discount costs $120 on top of the $30 app price. The entire set up feels like it was made just to get existing users to upgrade their hardware spending a bunch more money on the app and new hardware. Our review though is only based on the actual working conditions of the app with the current SlingBox models of what it can do, and not about what it can't do. You can get stuck in some cable or satellite pop-up menus with out easy access to the actual remote to cancel or go back from pop-ups. The app doesn’t work with multi-tasking which is a little disappointing if you want to look at anything else on your iPad. For high quality video you need a fast internet connection on both ends otherwise stuttering will occur unless you switch to standard quality. The standard quality gets the job done, but high quality really looks great on the iPad.
The VerdictSlingPlayer feels at home on the iPad with a great screen size for on the go TV watching. There are five different interface options to let you access almost every control of a cable or satellite box all in an efficient manner on the iPad. This is the best way to watch video on the iPad as you would expect for all the costs involved. SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad is a should buy for $29.99 if you own one of the two SlingBox Models it supports. If not, it’s enticing to pick one up if you’ve never had one, but it feels like a slap in the face if you own an older model.