Slingbox 500 Review, Is This The Best Way To Watch TV Remotely?

By | July 23, 2017

There are many ways to watch TV when you are overseas. My Slingbox 500 Review takes a look at the pros and cons and compares it with the Slingbox M2.

The first thing you may notice is the huge difference in price between the Slingbox 500 and the M2 model. Visibly they are quite different but the end result is the same, with the only major difference being HDMI input and output with the 500 model.

IPTV is changing the way we watch TV so you have many options. The Slingbox has been around for a long time. I owned the Slingbox M1 and it was a great way to watch my TV when I was overseas.

But is this really the best way to watch TV remotely?

Slingbox 500 Full Review


Price: $249.99 + FREE shipping
Best place to buy: Amazon
Product size: 3.13 x 16.38 x 10 in
Weight: 1.22 pounds
Connections: Ethernet & WiFi
Guarantee: 1 year
Amazon US rating: 3.5/5

First Impressions

OMG! How complicated is it to set up and use this device? I forgot how difficult it was. I’m surprised people still use this method of viewing TV when away from home. Sure, it will save you any further bills but it’s not a simple process.

Incidentally, it’s cheaper to buy from Amazon rather than form the Slingbox website. The 500 model is priced at $299.99 on the manufacturer’s website so you can save yourself $50 through Amazon. The Amazon USA site will also deliver Worldwide.

What you need

  • HDTV with HDMI input
  • Cable or satellite set-top box with HDMI and component or composite output
  • Wireless or hard-wired router
  • High-speed Internet

How It Works

  1. Connect the Slingbox to your set-top box and TV
  2. Connect to your WiFi network
  3. Follow the on-screen set up instructions

Sounds simple right? Believe me it isn’t. There is a reason why Sling Support have so many videos for set up! So many cables to connect and then apps to download plus if you want to watch on another TV you have to cast it to another device like the Apple TV or Roku media player.

It’s a good way to save on further cable or satellite subscriptions but it does have limitations. What if someone else is at home and wants to watch another channel? You may also have serious connection issues which will affect the quality.

The Slingplayer app has to be downloaded to a mobile device which you then cast to your other device connected to your TV away from home. So, you are basically tying up your mobile device too.

Pros and Cons

The good:

  • Save on additional subscriptions
  • Once it is set up it is easy to use
  • You can access ALL of your TV content at home including DVR

The bad:

  • There are some serious connectivity issues affecting quality
  • Price of the set top box
  • You can only watch one channel on your home system at any one time
  • Complicated to set up with lots of cables


Slingbox 500 vs M2

The major difference is the 500 model having HDMI connectivity which will mean one less cable. That’s not such a bad thing! The Slingbox 500 also has a decent gallery feature which makes it a bit easier to navigate.

You can get check how long a program has been running and how long is left with the gallery feature. Slingbox Support say that the quality is better with the 500 model.

The price for the Slingbox M2 is $99.99 so quite a bit less than the 500 version.

What others are saying

I checked out some other reviews from customers. These comments were left on the Slingbox website. I have included both positive and negative extracts.

“I have had a Slingbox 500 for about 3 years now and can count on one hand the number of times I have been able to watch without problems. Constant lost connections (I have Xfinity wireless high speed internet), poor video quality that goes in and out…”

“Bought it a while ago and have had continuous problems including poor quality, service interruption despite full internet service, and lack of any support for repeated errors…”

“Bought this Slingbox with a lot of doubt. Wife and I travel a lot both in and outside the country and I missed watching my local news and Direct TV pre-recorded TV shows. Without a hitch, Slingbox had me click on to my Direct TV DVR and watch whatever i wanted both live and pre-recorded shows…”

“I’ve had the Slingbox 500 for well over a year. Set up properly, this works wonderfully for watching your TV provider’s content anywhere you choose…”

This is just a snippet of the reviews. To read more click here.

What are the alternatives?

One better way to watch TV remotely is with an IPTV subscription. Yes, it’s an additional cost but it is affordable. Prices start at €14.95 per month and there is no need to cast it to another device.

You can watch it on various platforms and it is easy to set up. My IPTV provider also have a 14 day catch up feature and a video club with on-demand content. I canceled my cable TV subscription when I joined. There is no contract and you pay month by month.

They also offer a 3 day free trial so you can test it for yourself.



Would I buy a Slingbox 500?

In a word, NO! I am more than happy with my IPTV system and a Slingbox would offer me nothing that I don’t already have. That doesn’t mean it’s no good for you. It would definitely be a good investment if you don’t want to pay anything extra when you are at a remote location.

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Proprietor at UK TV Services Abroad
I am a UK expat who has lived overseas since 1997. I started this website to help fellow expats who are trying to watch UK TV abroad. I built this website for free with the help and support of a wonderful online community. Click here if you want to read my profile. It's free to join and you can build 2 websites for free.

4 thoughts on “Slingbox 500 Review, Is This The Best Way To Watch TV Remotely?

  1. Robert

    I could not agree more with your review. Slingbox had its time, but that time has passed. There are so many ways to get IPTV today staying in touch with home should not be a chore. IPTV is certainly one such service, Sling TV, not slingbox is another Kodi a third and there are so many more. I love to read accurate advice and yours was spot on, thank you for helping

    1. Craig Post author

      Hi Robert, thanks for your input. I think if you live alone and travel frequently it probably fits the bill better. There would be nobody at home to disturb your viewing and you wouldn’t be upsetting anyone else when changing channel. When I had mine I had it connected to a box in the bedroom so there was no issue with the main TV. The only problem was when the kids wanted to watch TV in the bedroom. You’re right about the other options we have. Slingboxes same antiquated now. Cheers, Craig.

  2. JohnB

    The Slingbox seems like a nice product, but a little too expensive in my opinion. The setting up is also a bit difficult and now that you have mentioned connectivity issues it really is not worth it. I only watch some movies and series on Netflix, so I think that I don’t need any sort of portable TV.

    I like that you mention the negative aspects of your product in your review. It shows that you really care about your customers, by always telling the truth.

    1. Craig Post author

      HI John, they were good back in the day but technology has overtaken them. All my reviews are unbiased, I don’t have much to gain by people buying these products or not, my main business is IPTV subscriptions. Netflix is okay for on-demand TV but for Live channels you need a decent product that will offer a quality stream.

      Cheers, Craig.

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