This evening I had a conflict: I needed to meet up with a neighbor while walking my dog but wanted to watch a key hockey game via my NHL Center Ice cable subscription. Why? Another neighbor’s son is a leading player on a team that is surprisingly making a run for a playoff position. Fortunately SlingMedia last week released the first “gold” version of SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry. I was able to watch the final period of the game while walking the dog (Blues won!). And this is currently only uniquely available on a BlackBerry Bold since it requires access to a 3G network when not in a WiFi access point’s zone.
While I reviewed it previously during my beta testing activity, SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry is now delivering a high quality, reliable performance with improvements made in reception stability and adapting to commands accessed by pushing buttons on the cable box’s virtual remote control included with Sling Player Mobile for BlackBerry. Key improvements over the past three months of beta testing include:
- Ability to add/ edit Slingboxes and Channel Favorites directly on SlingPlayer Mobile, not just via SlingPlayer 2.0 for Windows, which in the past was then propagated down to the BlackBerry
- Additional setting to optimize low bandwidth streaming
- Additional convenience features, e.g. current connection type indicator, volume level indicator, keypad lock, in addition to general UI improvement
- Enhanced aspect ratio/ display mode support
- Audio track selection if available as part of the channel program
Some of the features I have come to appreciate include:
- ability to see whether you a re on a WiFi or 3G wireless connection (Bold only)
- volume level indicator
- access to your SlingBox account allows easy access to your various SlingBoxes without the need to enter all SlingBox parameters
- access to the “Favorites” menus that can be setup on a PC or Mac.
- use of the SYM key to switch between viewing “connection mode (WiFi or 3G)”, battery level and volume level indicators
- ability to schedule recording of programs on my cable boxe’s DVR player
- “Listen” mode: listen to the audio without video; ideal when driving – safer and reduces battery drain
The best test of quality is following the high speed action of a hockey game; there is no pixelation or other display break up other than when changing channels or pulling up information such as the digital cable guide or channel information bar.
SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry works over a 3G connection on the BlackBerry Bold or over a WiFi connection on any 8×20 BlackBerry, 8900 BlackBerry Curve or the Bold. SlingMedia has said they are investigating support for the Storm; also they announced at CES 2009 that SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone will be released later this week.
SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry continues to be one of the best demonstrations of the power of the BlackBerry Bold, requiring optimum performance from the processor, display and network connection. And when you get totally absorbed in a music production carried over, say, an HD Net concert, you also get to experience the excellent stereo audio quality of the Bold.
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