updated 10:10 am EDT, Tue September 5, 2006
Sony LocationFree Stations
The Slingbox has been generally unchallenged as a means of streaming television both throughout a house as well as to mobile users: while Sony's LocationFree technology is widespread, its flexibility is relatively limited in the current version. This changes courtesy of newly announced additions to the LocationFree line: Sony's two new base stations and completely new TV Box promise better and farther-ranging access to source videos. Resembling the slim PlayStation 2, the LF-B10 uses Ethernet to stream video from a nearby TV to almost any device with an Internet connection - including MacOS X and Windows computers, the PlayStation Portable, and Windows Mobile smartphones. It also uses the AVC (H.264) codec to improve video quality on relatively low-bandwidth signals. Similar in design, the LF-B20 uses 802.11g wireless networking to eliminate the need for Ethernet cables. Finally, the TV Box is an expansion of the line that acts as a receiver for LocationFree signals rather than a transmitter. It connects to an existing base station and can output that video to a remote TV, whether in another room or in a completely separate location. The LF-B10 starts at $200, while the wireless feature of the B20 raises the price to $250. A TV Box unit will retail for $230. All the new LocationFree sets display either NTSC or PAL and are shipping in October. Click through for full photos of the LF-B20 and TV Box.