Laptops have changed the way we interact with our data; so much so they now regularly outsell desktop PCs.
In a similar way, the Slingbox is here to change the way we interact with our televisions, by freeing us from the desktop box. It does this by allowing you to watch your own TV, regardless of location, whether in this country or abroad.
This may sound trivial, but for the frequent traveller, being able to view their favourite TV programmes, whether live or recorded on a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is a luxury available to anyone with a broadband connection.
There are an increasing number of such solutions available, from the likes of Sony and Orbis, but this one consists of a single box you connect to your TV and then to your broadband connection.
You'll need a broadband account that can handle 256Kbps to keep a decent connection, but anyone with an 8MB account will be fine.
One at a time
Slingbox has designed it to work as a one-to-one device, so only one person can gain access to the power of the box at any one time, but you can install the software on any number of devices.
Slingbox will be bringing out a UK-specific Pocket PC version too, so you can watch TV on your Wi-Fi PDA. Don't expect Hi-Def resolution, but the buffering technique developed means there are no slow-downs when watching. This buffering means you can also run it through a wireless connection without too much trouble.
We found that it took some 30 minutes to get the box installed and running. Then you just need to make sure you have a broadband connection wherever you are.
It's such a novel idea that there are no legal precedents concerning the viewing of re-broadcast material overseas, so you won't be able to record any shows directly to your laptop, but you can safely do so at home - on higher quality.
The Slingbox is a great concept and means you don't have to leave your TV at home.