Theres a lot of talk here about the Slingbox problems and issues and Slingbox control information. But what about the less discussed Sling Media’s SlingCatcher? What kind of cool things can you do with it that are not documented?
First if you are unfamiliar with the Sling Media SlingCatcher you can read more about it here. You may notice when you look at that information you are on Sling Media’s Canada site. The reason being is that the SlingCatcher is no longer available in the U.S. You can still find used ones and even new ones on websites other than Sling Media’s if you want one but the price has sky rocketed since they stopped offering it in the U.S.
If you already own one or are wondering what else can this little box do then here are some very cool tricks and tips. All you have to do is edit and turn on a few software switches on the SlingCatcher.
Get the Sling Projector Program
If you have a SlingCatcher you need to download the SlingCatcher software to your computer. It contains the SlingProjector software that allows you select almost any video from your computer screen and have SlingCatcher display it on your TV, for the ultimate lean-back, social viewing experience.
It also contains the SlingSync program. This program is designed to provide a central place on your computer where you can easily locate all the media files you have on your hard drive and sync them to an external USB hard-drive or USB flash-stick for playback on the SlingCatcher. SlingSync will locate your media files and verify if they are compatible with the SlingCatcher.
SlingSync also will attempt to convert any media files that are not compatible into a format that will work with the SlingCatcher. While the program will not be able to convert every possible media file into a readable format, it covers most of the big formats out there today.
You can get the SlingProjector program here. It only “officially” works for Windows XP and Vista but some Windows 7 users have been able to make it work also.
The Sling Projector program works pretty good. You can project your whole computer screen or just a small video window. Great for sharing videos from YouTube or Hulu.
If you are an old pro with the SlingCatcher your saying to yourself “Ya I already knew that. Where are the tips and tricks”?
Tip #1 – Edit the Configuration file
The SlingCatcher uses a configuration file called SlingSync.ini it reads certain information from it when it first runs. The file is in your “C:\Program Files\Sling Media\SlingSync” folder. It is a simple text file that you can edit with Notepad.
The text in it looks like this.
;Configurable parameters for Sling Sync PC
;Show tags; Value 0 – hide; Value 1 – show; default – hidden
;Hide convert option; Value 1 – disabled; Value 0 – enabled; default – disabled
As you can see there are only a couple of options.
One of the options is to turn “tags” on. Simply change the “0″ to a “1″ and tags will be on when you run the SlingSync program. Unfortunately this is not a very handy option. We have not really seen any good use for it. If you turn it on and find out some nice things to use it for we would love to hear about it.
The other options “HideConvert” I don’t know why you would want to turn that off but you can if you wish. The other two options “ExcludeWindows=” and “ExcludeProgramFiles=” does do just that. Again if you want to include Windows in the Scan or program files you can turn that off by changing the “1″ to a “0″
Ok, not impressed with any real cool tips?
If you would like the ability to see a thumbnail picture of your videos then you can add the text “EnableThumbnailEditor=1″ directly under the “ShowTags=1″ entry. The next time you run the SlingSync program and highlight a video you will see a thumbnail of the video. This makes it real easy to see what the video contains. If you go ahead and try to edit the thumbnail you will see that it is very buggy. That is probably why Sling Media never publically released it. At the fevy least you can at least get a quick snapshot of the video that might help remind you what it is. With the hundreds of videos people have these days a quick reminder of what is in each can really help.
Tip #3 - ShowSling Catcher Drives, Transfer files directly to your SlingCatcher.
One of the biggest pains in using the SlingCatcher to play videos on your external hard drive or thumb drive is that you have to plug your hard drive into your computer transfer the files to it and then plug it into your SlingCatcher to play the files. What if you could just transfer the files directly from your computer to you SlingCatcher hard drive? With this tip it can be done.
In that same SlingSync.ini file add “ShowSlingCatcherDrives=1″ directly under the “ShowTags” switch. Now when you run the SlingSync program you will see your SlingCatcher and the USB disk plugged into it.
When you select your USB drive on your SlingCatcher you can select the “Transfer” option here.
You will then be shown not only places on your computer where you can transfer files but as you can see below you will be shown your USB drive on your SlingCatcher.
If you just select your USB drive you can directly transfer a video or music directly to your SlingCatcher. No more plugging and unplugging of your USB hard drive!
There are also a few other things you can do once you turn on the ability to show your SlingCatcher drives. Play around with it and see what other things are hidden underneath the hood.
If you have a tip or trick that you would like to share about using the Sling Catcher we would sure love to hear about them.