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Failed after 100 days; More $ to get support
on October 12, 2009
I wanted to review this product's feature set and its ease of setup or its compatibility or some other attributes. However, I could not: mine failed after only 100 days of ownership. And I couldn't initially get it fixed by Sling because they told me they only support it for 90 days. I guess I'm old-fashioned in that I expect products to last more than three months before they fail. I also expect companies of those failed products to stand behind them.
UPDATE ONE MONTH LATER: Sling was now willing to honor the warranty on my Slingbox....but only if I paid them $50 more for an extended warranty. Yes, even though my product was well within the one year warranty. Only if I paid them more money would they answer my calls or e-mails asking them to replace my unit.
Anyone considering this product should add $50 to the purchase price when evaluating its worth to you. The product essentially comes with a mere 90 day warranty--you must pay extra after that. Sling should be upfront, adding that $50 to the list price and providing good support. But I guess that's not how they do business.
UPDATE ONE YEAR LATER: After stewing over the extra $50 for months, I opted to pay it so I could move forward and actually have a working SlingBox. I will give Sling credit: Once you pay them their extra $50, they do support you. They stayed on the phone with me at length, connected in remotely, and didn't hesitate to send a replacement unit for my failed one.
I did require support after receiving the new unit because no installation instructions were included and their software is not all that smart. It should have recognized there was a new SlingBox on my LAN and proffered "Do you want to configure the unconfigured SlingBox?" instead of making me hunt through the menus to force it to do so. There are still bugs in the latest configuration utility too, leaving me stuck in the procedure at one point with no "Continue" button and necessitating another chat with Sling support.
OVERALL: I cannot recommend a SlingBox for a non-technical user. With work, an average Joe can connect the cables to one but the software setup is for those who understand video hardware and computer software rather well. This is in no way whatsoever a "plug & play" product. Better software engineering (and hardware quality) could vastly widen the potential user audience. Maybe we will see this in future revisions, but until then it remains a hobbyist extravagance. Make sure you know what you're getting into before buying.