New York Times discovers the Slingbox

Yep — there’s a piece by David Pogue.

IN the olden days, Americans gathered in front of the television sets in their living rooms to watch designated shows at designated times. You had a choice of three channels, and if you missed the broadcast, you’d feel like an idiot at the water cooler the next day. Quaint, huh?

Then came the VCR, which spared you the requirement of being there on time. Then cable TV, which blew open your channel choices. Then TiVo, which eliminated the necessity of even knowing when or where a show was to be broadcast. What’s next — eliminating the TV altogether?

Well, sure. Last year, a strange-looking gadget called the Slingbox ($250) began offering that possibility. It’s designed to let you, a traveler on the road, watch what’s on TV back at your house, or what’s been recorded by a video recorder like a TiVo.

The requirements are high-speed Internet connections at both ends, a home network and a Windows computer — usually a laptop — to watch on. (A Mac version is due by midyear.)

Today is another milestone in society’s great march toward anytime, anywhere TV. Starting today, Slingbox owners can install new player software on Windows Mobile palmtops and cellphones, thereby eliminating even the laptop requirement.

On cellphones with high-speed Internet connections, the requirement of a wireless Internet hot spot goes away, too. Now you can watch your home TV anywhere you can make phone calls — a statement that’s never appeared in print before today (at least not accurately).