If you know someone who endures long commutes or frequent business travel, you've probably heard them lament their lack of quality TV time while paying $100 a month for services because the three channels they actually watch, AMC, HBO Canada and Discovery Channel, are all in different bundles. They've probably got a season's worth of Walking Dead and Through the Wormhole on the PVR he or she is going to watchÖ someday.
As it turns out - and assuming your someone totes a smartphone, tablet or laptop in their travels - they can actually watch their residential TV programming while out and about or far-flung. All those recorded shows, even that Mediterranean Cuisine/Animal Autopsy specialty channel that comes packaged in the ridiculously overpriced "bundle" of channels they never watch, all there, anytime, anywhere (with an internet connection, that is).
They do it with a Slingbox 500 ($300; slingbox.com or at Staples stores in Canada), a digital downtime intermediary that streams the HDMI signal from a cable/satellite box to a personal portable device securely over the web. What's more, Slingbox also provides a virtual remote control so the user can change channels, watch pre-recorded shows or set up recordings for later viewing as if they were right there at home on the couch.
Mind you, the set-top-box is going to display what someone watches abroad on the TV back home simultaneously, so kids or significant other back at the homestead will have to watch the same thing as the person abroad, or vice-versa. Then again, that also allows the traveler and the spouse or whole family to share some quality TV time without the hassle of actually being present. Living the dream, right?