Some folks call it a SlingBlade ... er, SlingPlayer
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Some folks call it a SlingBlade ... er, SlingPlayer

A couple of weeks ago, tired of Comcast's ever-rising cable TV prices, I ditched their cable TV (but kept the Internet package) and went with DISH TV. Their pricing is cheaper and I was intrigued by their TV Everywhere feature -- which has worked pretty well so far.

DISH Network says it's the first pay-TV provider in America to introduce a true TV Everywhere offering, giving DISH Network subscribers the ability to watch all of their live and recorded television programs on compatible smartphones, tablets and computers. I'll take their word for it, but the TV Everywhere feature does let me watch DISH programming on my iMac or iPad.

DISH Network subscribers can access these features when they download and use the DISH Remote Access application in concert with their broadband-connected, Sling-enabled receiver.
Unlike mobile viewing from cable and telcos that limit access to select programs, TV Everywhere services give consumers 24 x 7 access to all of the live and recorded content included with their DISH Network programming subscription.

To enjoy the live viewing capability of DISH Remote Access, consumers need to be DISH Network subscribers and have a Sling-enabled device such as the newly-released Sling Adapter -- a small placeshifting device that pairs with DISH Network's ViP 722 or 722k HD DVRs. With a Sling Adapter, customers can then view their high-definition or standard-definition DISH Network programming on compatible mobile devices or laptops.

The Sling Adapter is powered and operated through an USB connection, offering an easy, plug-and-play set-up without the need for any other wires or connectors. The Sling Adapter is available for US$99 to new and current DISH Network customers.

To use it on your Mac, you'll need to get up an online DISH account. Go to your account and choose "Watch Live TV." You can choose from Good, Better and Best streaming options. If you want to watch full screen TV, go with the latter and give it a few seconds to buffer your program.

One complaint: you can only watch TV full screen or in a small window. There are no resizing options or "handles" to drag the view screen to expand or shrink it. Another flaw: you can choose to zoom in on a scene you're watching -- though how often you'll want to do this questionable -- but you can't zoom out. Annoying.

Also note that if, like the Sellers household, you have a DISH TV Duo receiver so you can watch TV in two rooms and if both TVs are on, you are stuck watching whatever channel on your Mac or iOS device you were last on in the application. And whatever you try to change the channel to on your device your main TV will change to that channel or to that DVR recording. That's not a flaw, just the facts since the Sling Adapter taps into the second TV tuner of your receiver. This means one of the two TVs running off the receiver needs to not be in use if you're "slinging" programming to a Mac or mobile device.

On the bright side, you can open a grid with all the available programming on DISH (based on your subscription package). You can choose with program to watch. You can watch programs you've recorded on your DVR. You can also choose to record a program.

DISH Remote Access is powered by SlingPlayer Mobile technology for support of 3G and WiFi-enabled phones, laptops or tablets, including the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Macs. For more info about the Sling Adapter, DISH Remote Access and other DISH Network TV Everywhere products, visit www.dish.com/tveverywhere .

Note that you can only use the SlingPlayer to send DISH programming to one device at a time. In other words, you can't watch "The Sopranos" on your iMac and an HBO film on your iPad. Though you can watch a program on your HDTV and another on an Apple device.

Also, note that you'll have to operate Safari in 32-bit mode on your Mac. Here's how you do this:

° Quit Safari.

° Go into your Mac's Applications folder and find the Safari application.

° Click once to select the Safari icon, then press Command-i to Get Info.

° The Get Info window for Safari opens.

° In the Safari Get Info window, you see an option to Open in 32-bit mode. Click this checkbox.

° Close the Safari Get Info window.

° Launch Safari and reload DISH Remote Access.

° Click on the Watch tab and follow the instructions to finish setting up SlingPlayer.

DISH's TV Everywhere still has some kinks to work out. But it does indeed make it easy to watch your satellite TV channels just about anywhere.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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