SlingPlayer for Windows 8 Review

by Reads (5,113)
  • Pros

    • Touch-friendly controls
    • Works well on mid-range models
    • Supports Windows RT
    • Slingbox media streaming is second to none
  • Cons

    • Expensive
    • Barebones experience, similar to Slingbox.com

Quick Take

SlingPlayer is bare bones, but necessary for low-powered Windows 8 devices. Stay away only if you have a powerful Windows 8 device like the Surface Pro models, at least until SlingMedia adds new features.

The $15 SlingPlayer app for Windows 8 seems like a rip off. After all, the app only works with a Slingbox set-top box, which can cost up to $300, and the app duplicates the same media streaming functionality freely available on Slingbox.com.

SlingPlayer for Windows 8The folks at Sling Media might contend that the Windows 8 app provides a better experience than the website. According to the Windows Store description, the app “takes full advantage of the high performance, screen resolutions, and video quality of Windows 8.” The app also features a gallery of popular programming airing at any given time, and a customizable program guide. Not touted by Sling Media, but no less important, the Windows 8 SlingPlayer app is built for touch, complete with big, finger-friendly buttons.

The folks at Sling Media are only partially right. The Slingbox website also has a program guide, and works well enough on more powerful, Core-powered devices, like the Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. However, the Slingbox.com experience is frustratingly sluggish on the low-powered devices, including Intel Bay Trail-powered tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro. Slingbox website streaming won’t work at all on Windows RT, at least not without a hack.

SlingPlayer for Windows 8 -- GalleryThe good news is that the Windows 8 SlingPlayer app works extremely well, on both the Bay Trail and Windows RT devices on which TabletPCReview tested it. As with all Slingbox experiences, there was a slight delay when operating the TV controls, navigating menus, and using DVR, due to the limits of consumer-gradevirtualization technology. That said, the Windows 8 app is as responsive as any other Slingbox app TPCR has tested, including both the Android and iOS clients.

The bad news is that it’s still missing some important features found on the iOS and Android apps, which also both cost $15. As of this review, users can’t stream Slingbox content to a Roku or Apple TV, and the SlingPlayer Windows 8 app does not yet support “My Media” for streaming local Windows 8 content to the big screen. According to the Windows 8 app page, SlingPlayer hasn’t been updated since it launched in December. Though, TPCR did notice stability improvements over the few weeks we tested it.

SlingPlayer for Windows 8 Review on Windows StoreAll of this adds up to an app that may be prohibitively expensive, but necessary for many Windows 8 users to get full use out of a Slingbox; that includes Surface, Surface 2, Dell Venue 8 Pro, and Asus Transformer Book T100 owners. But until Slingmedia updates the app to include more features, Surface Pro owners, and any users rocking an Intel Core-powered device, can save their money and stick with Slingbox.com streaming. The only things these users will miss are the colorful program gallery and touch-friendly controls.

Any Slingplayer app review should note that Slingbox is an excellent product and offers an incomparable service. It’s lousy of Slingmedia to charge $15 for its bare-bones Windows 8 app, but there is a very good reason they can get away with it.

Slingplayer requires Windows 8.1, and is compatible with the Slingbox 500, Slingbox 350, Slingbox PRO-HD, and Slingbox SOLO. It is not compatible with the DISH Sling devices. It’s available in the Windows App Store for $14.99, with a free 24-hour trial.

Pros:

  • Touch-friendly controls
  • Works well on mid-range models
  • Supports Windows RT
  • Slingbox media streaming is second to none

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Barebones experience, similar to Slingbox.com


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