In the beginning there was Slingbox. We're talking maybe seven years ago, an aeon in technology. Back then, it seemed little short of miraculous – watching TV over the internet? Why, that's delightful.
Now in 2013 virtually everyone watches TV via the web or Netflix and the Slingbox seems less magical, if no less useful.
But where it used to have the space to itself, now the Belkin @TV Plus wants a piece of the action.
Like the Slingbox, it's a small device that connects to your Sky/UPC box (or, more simply, a DVD player, for instance).
It digitises your TV signal (live/recorded/whatever) and makes it available over the internet (in your home or outside) on a PC/Mac or tablet/phone.
Rather cleverly, a little IR blaster placed in front of your cable box enables you to remotely change channels, pause playback, etc, as if you were in the same room.
Of course you won't be getting the same high-def quality, but for the convenience it's a price worth paying. Just remember that anyone at home will have to watch the same thing as you are viewing remotely.
So far, so Slingbox.
The @TV Plus ain't no dumb clone, though. For about the same money as the comparable Slingbox Solo (both now just €100 on Amazon UK), it needs no €30 adapter to connect to your wireless network.
Just as usefully, Belkin makes its tablet apps available free (Slingbox charges a stinging €14), though Belkin's phone apps cost €12 each – ouch.
Lastly, the @TV Plus can actually record shows onto your computer or tablet for later viewing.
Slingbox offers more flexibility and picture quality with its pricier devices but, at the cheap end, @TV Plus has the edge.