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THOUGHT: How to remote control your Slingbox connected MCE from your Pocket PC
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 31.10.07 - 13:21:52 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 21975x
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The past days my girlfriend and I were off for some vacation which we spent in Mallorca again. And as good as the weather was during the day, in the night it became too cold to sit outside and therefore we spent some good time in the evening either in the bar or in the hotel room. Not bad at all, since we still had some TV recordings we wanted to watch anyway.
Thankfully our favorite hotel in Mallorca has free in-room Internet and with a downstream of roughly measured 3000 Kbps, the speed is quite decent for streaming. At least it's good enough to watch TV from the Slingbox at home, especially because I have an upstream of 2048 Kbps which means the result was quite sufficient.

Furthermore, our hotel has LCD TVs which allows to connect Notebooks and therefore I've connected my Notebook to the TV to watch the Slingbox stream on a wider screen. So far so good except one problem: If I wanted to control my Slingbox, doesn't matter if I wanted to change the live program, the recording or pause/continue the recording, I had to stand up from the bed which isn't convenient at all. I thought about this problem for some time already and finally I came to the solution which is - what else - my Windows Mobile smartphone.

As always, if I travel, I have my Apple Airport Express router with me, a nice little router, which provides wireless coverage, if the hotel room has CAT5 LAN only. So the Internet access was provided by the AirPort Express router which my Notebook connected to as well as my Windows Mobile smartphones:

And as I said earlier, the Notebook was connected to the LCD screen to output the received SlingStream. So far so good and a pretty common setup.

However, now it became a little bit tricky. My Slingbox is connected to two A/V sources - the raw DVB-T antenna signal and my Windows Vista (Ultimate) Media Center which I use for live TV as well but also as my digital video recorder (DVR). For sure, my Windows Vista Media Center also runs WebGuide4 (for several reasons, for instance to access the MCE remotely, from my Windows Mobile smartphone, to program recordings) and now comes the neat feature of WebGuide4: The mobile interface also provides a remote control functionality which emulates a Media Center remote control (see the previous WebGuide4 review here):

Therefore I took my WiFi equipped Windows Mobile Pocket PC (in this case an O2 Xda nova since it supports WiFi and the touchscreen can be nicely used as a remote control), connected it to the AirPort Express as well, logged-in to my Windows Vista Media Center at home, using WebGuide4 et voila, I was able to remote control the Media Center over the air from the bed where I got the results back on the TV in front of the bed:

Now that's a nice combination of input and output and another example how different utilities and technologies can and should work together. For instance I was often asked why I use WebGuide4 in addition to my Slingbox and above you get a real reason why both together makes real sense, if a Slingbox is connected to a Windows Media Center PC.
And since both, the Notebook as well as the Pocket PC were connected over WiFi, I hadn't pay a single Cent for International Data Roaming; thanks to the Internet connected hotel.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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Comments
Posted by Pocket PC Guy on 31.10.07 - 19:02:27

Great idea Arne! Will try out tonight when I'm at home. Always like your column since you always think out of the box and not copying articles from others as many others do! Way to go, keep up the good work!

Posted by Keran on 01.11.07 - 15:58:16

Great finding Arne, thanks for sharing. While I have a SlingBox I never was tempted to install WebGuide on my MCE because I have a SlingBox Pro. But this changes everything. While I'm not connecting my 20" Laptop with TVs, it often stands on the table close to the CAT5 port. Do you know if your solution also works over UMTS from my BlackJack?

Posted by Arne Hess on 06.11.07 - 09:48:42

Yes, absolutely now problem. It doesn't matter which wireless technology you use. Your BlackJack and UMTS/HSDPA is good as well. You might only notice a longer latency but you can even use GPRS or EDGE.

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