Monday, January 22, 2007

Two Slings Worth Catching

I've raved endlessly about the Slingbox, which lets you place-shift your TV viewing to anywhere you can take a computer. At CES the Sling Media people went one better: they introduced the SlingCatcher, which will let you do your slinging TV-to-TV, without the computer. So you can watch your downstairs TiVo upstairs, or even (and this is where it gets really cool) take it on the road with you and watch your home shows on any TV.

I thought of one really interesting use for the SlingCatcher... though its legality is still being debated. If there's someone in your life who is always asking you to make them tapes or DVDs of shows they missed, you can just give them a SlingCatcher. Then while you're out of the house, they can watch the show on your TiVo, and you saved yourself some hassle.

(And the announcement that CBS will offer the Clip+Sling feature, which allows the sharing of clips from CBS shows, is even more good news for Slingbox owners.)

Another great sling is Martian Technology's SlingShot, a clean, simple, efficient app for the Mac that will synchronize any folder or iTunes playlist among the computers on your network. Sync has always been available for folders, through the .Mac service, but there's an annual fee. SlingShot is only $29.99 to buy, and the license covers every Mac on your home network.

And the iTunes playlist feature is a godsend: you "publish" a playlist on your desktop, and "subscribe" on your laptop. Every time you change the desktop playlist, the tracks the laptop doesn't have are automatically copied over. Combine this with the invaluable Smart Playlists feature, and SlingShot is the answer to a lot of iTunes prayers.

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