My review of Echostar’s Freesat recorder is over on RegHardware, but I thought I’d add a few more words and some extra screens here.
First, the connectivity side of this was very straightforward – I fully expected configuration problems with remote viewing, but there weren’t any. While I can’t promise it’ll work fine for everyone, I did access it in fairly challenging circumstances.
The box was connected to my Apple Airport Express powered network; that puts it on a private network, behind NAT, and I didn’t so any special configuration of the Airport. The Airport itself has a public IP address, but is behind a firewall in the router, which is set up to pass limited traffic to the Airport from outside – principally HTTP and some instant messaging. In didn’t add any extra rules for the Sling functionality.
Viewing remotely was done in the Computeractive office, where all the machines are also on a private network, and present a single outgoing IP address. So, effectively, there’s NAT at each end, plus two firewalls – and the streaming still worked without a hitch.
As to picture quality, well if you want to catch up on stuff when you’re away from home, I suppose it’s reasonable enough. The limiting quality is your broadband upload speed – mine is 0.6Mbps, which is reasonable (and faster than quite a lot of people).
So, what’s it like? Well, you can watch BBC One HD remotely, but it won’t look anything like HD; it’s blocky but sit a fair distance from the screen an it’s perfectly watchable. What was more interesting was the difference the quality settings had on the presentation of the on-screen menus, which will be necessary if you want to view recordings remotely. here’s the recording list, with the quality set to ‘Auto’
Change to ‘Best’ and now the menus are readable; the speed shown in the bottom bar changed from 504 to 536kbps when I did this – and the sound started to break up. But unless you only have a few recordings, you’ll probably need this better quality to be able to work out which file you want to play:
Finally, one last pic; I mentioned in the review how bright the front panel lights were, and the Sling indicator, which comes on during remote access is particularly bright, and annoying – that arch of LEDs cycles off and on. This is one you’ll probably want to disable via the menus, if you’re at home when someone else is accessing the box.