12 September 2008

Sling thing

Did I ever tell you about our first two weeks of boat ownership? The fact that despite being out with the boat on our inaugural cruise, we spent hardly a second on board? No? Well gather round then. Like a lot of people, we like to relax with a mix of TV, music and books. For the telly, we thought that buying a satellite dish and bringing our Sky box from home would be a sensible solution. The thing is, at that point in time we had not been initiated into the wonders of the Kersten mini-dish and its clamp-me-down-and-you’ll-be-buggered-if-you’re-ever-going-to-get-me-off-again-without-breaking-your-nails magnetic plate. No, we’d gone down the caravan shop hadn’t we? Landed ourselves with Joddrell Bank on a tripod, which already made us look like a right couple of eejits before we’d even stooped down to set the thing up. 

And you know, it was great – it could find every satellite under the sun, including ruddy Sputnik, but it couldn’t find Sky. Two weeks we were out on the towpath, twiddling and fiddling, disconnecting everything, putting everything back together, shaking the tuner, shaking the dish, skaking one another. I can tell you, if it weren’t for our devout anti-littering ethos, we would have tossed the whole blinking lot in the cut. I don’t think I sat down in my virgin recliners once that fortnight. Fortunately, not many months passed before we stumbled on the Road Pro stand at a National and we were sorted in a trice. For about a year afterwards, we religiously unplugged our Sky box and brought it up with us but then we stopped being bothered, relying more on our Freeview box or indeed a good book to wile away the evenings. 

To be honest, I think I became tired of inching round the gunwales in all  weathers, getting a quality signal only for the wind and/or rain to mess it all up. So the idea of being able to receive Sky without a dish or a box, direct to my laptop, no external faffing about required, immediately had my attention. And here it is, our new arrival. Yes, I know it looks like a Swiss chocolate bar but it is in fact a Slingbox Pro, a nifty little gadget that’s been around for a while now in less advanced forms but still doing essentially the same thing. 

And that is, it takes your TV signal at home and via wireless/internet, it delivers it to your PC, laptop, even mobile phone. The software that comes with it allows you to control your Sky or digibox remote and to even turn the box on and off – despite being hundreds of miles away. Or thousands, as it works wherever you can get online. Imagine that, Coronation Street in Timbuktoo. And if we aren’t using it, and friends out there can get a broadband or wireless connection, we can set you up with your favourite viewing – we just need to give you the magic code. 

At home, it means that we don’t have to fork out for multi-room Sky, instead we take A’s PI Sony Ericsson to bed and fall asleep watching that instead. And as wi-fi is becoming increasingly prevalent on caravan sites, it’s a great option for the van too. At present, we only have a 7inch pull down telly in the cab - which is about as much use as tits on a fish - so it’ll make a nice change to be able to see what’s actually going on. How can you follow a whodunit when you can’t see whodidit? The only downside that I can see is that having UK Gold playing on my laptop all day might impinge slightly on my productivity. Especially if it’s back to back One Foot In the Graves all day. Oh sod it, there’s always tomorrow.....


1 comment:

Lesley K Nb Caxton said...

I don't beleeeeve it! Another brilliant post as ever!