Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Slingplayer finally on my Blackberry!


In the two years since we moved to Texas I have been frustratingly unable to get the remote viewing working on my Slingplayer. I got my Slingplayer in 2006 and was extremely happy with having the option to watch my tv via my phone or mobile device. However, something in our setup with using a Siemens modem from AT&T connected to a Netgear router for wireless was causing the remote feature to fail. I attempted many times to fix this, bringing down our entire network and finally resigned myself to the fact that I would only be able to use my Slingplayer within the confines of our wireless network at home.
This worked fine while I had Windows Mobile devices, however there is something in the setup for Blackberry that requires the remote viewing feature to work even if you are connected via WiFi. And last week the Slingplayer for iPhone was released and even though its only accessible over a WiFi connection, several sources verified that the remote viewing feature had to be working before it could be used. I was stumped- how could it be so difficult to get this feature working? I once again scoured the internet for answers. There were all kinds of terms that I wasn't very familiar with: uPnP, port forwarding, static IPs....and then I stumbled on the one term that ended up being the missing piece for me: bridge mode.
To explain it in simple (if slightly inaccurate) terms, the setup using a modem and a router invited them each to place their own protocols on my wireless signal. So, when I would try the port forwarding trick on my router, my modem would not follow suit, and vice versa. Putting my modem in bridge mode meant that it would become just a dummy unit, allowing the wireless to stream through, and leaving all the configuration to the router. The router will in turn need to be programmed with the username and password from your ISP to be able to take over these duties. For me, that ended up being the tricky part because I had long since forgotten what it was, and used a combination which I thought it was and ended up being re-directed to the AT&T password change tool page that kept freezing. A call to an agent got my password reset and I was good to go.

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Words cannot express the overwhelming geeky joy I felt at finally seeing the Slingplayer client finally connect on my Blackberry! Its been 2 long years without the feature that actually prompted me to get a Slingbox in the first place and I was so thrilled to have gotten it back-and with a nice hi-res screen to boot! The icing on the cake was realizing that my registration key that I had purchased for my Windows Mobile phone back in 2006 worked perfectly on my Blackberry! I don't think I will be purchasing the iPhone app since I would be using my HP Mini to watch over wifi while at home, but its great to be able to use this on my Blackberry when I'm out and about.

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