Sony's Third-Gen LocationFree Base Station Misses By That Much

SlingMedia SlingBox’s main competition currently is Sony and its line of LocationFree Base Stations. For the unfamiliar, both products let you view and control your TV via any broadband-connected laptop or desktop (Windows-based for the time being) from any location in the world. Also, like SlingMedia, Sony recently launched new models: The $249 LF-B20 and $199 LF-B10. Sony had them on display at last week’s Digital Life show, and while they certainly had the good looks we expect from Sony, the reps didn’t exactly let us set one up and test it.

Sony did, however, send the LF-B20 over to CNET’s John Falcone to put through its paces. The verdict:

As of this writing, we feel the Slingbox still delivers a better overall experience, thanks to a more streamlined setup process, superior software and streaming performance, and better device compatibility. But there’s still a lot to like about the LF-B20: the built-in wireless, the lineup of supported devices (Windows PCs, PSPs, Macs), the remote control customization, and the sub-$250 price point. It’s certainly a big improvement over the earlier LocationFree TV products, and there’s no reason that it can’t get better still with continued software and firmware upgrades.

The setup process was apparently a big sticking point as was the $29 charge for additional clients to use on other devices. Having setup a SlingBox, we can attest to just how easy everything comes together and the SlingPlayer client can be installed on multiple systems. But, if you’ve got a PSP and like that “Sony Style” maybe the frustrations of installation are worth it.

Sony LF-B20 LocationFree Base Station [CNET]

LocationFree Wireless Base Station LF-B20 [Product page]