Using an HDMI video source with the Slingbox 500
Here's why: HDMI connections allow for the use of a copy protection technology called HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection). Many content providers, including popular channels like HBO and Showtime use the industry-standard HDCP to curtail illicit use of their content. When content is HDCP-protected, it can't be placeshifted.
To ensure that you can watch your TV anywhere at any time, we recommend that you configure a Component or Composite input in addition to HDMI. These connection types do not have HDCP restrictions. And component connections enable the same HD streaming resolutions and picture quality when you're using SlingPlayer to watch your content! This is what the Quick Start Guide suggests, too, so check that out if you haven't already - it's included in the Slingbox 500 retail box.
If you want to connect your component or composite cables to different video sources, please be aware that you may be prevented from viewing all of your HDMI content at any time. Check out the short video linked below entitled "HDMI, your Slingbox & you", which explains these concepts in greater detail!
What is Selectable Output Control?
A very limited number set-top boxes and video sources use yet another layer of copy-protection called Selectable Output Control, or SOC. Used in devices where both HDMI and analog outputs (component, composite, etc.) are available, SOC disables any analog outputs when HDMI is also hooked up.
Does the video over component go "dark" when you attach an HDMI cable to your set-top box? Then you likely have an SOC-capable set-top box. Currently, there are only a handful of SOC capable set-top boxes on the market.
To enable your Slingbox 500 to placeshift HD content with an SOC (Selectable Output Control) capable set-top box, the only solution is to disconnect the HDMI cables from the set-top box and use Component cables to and from the Slingbox. This does not reduce the picture quality and allows you to watch your HD content anywhere.
Watch this to learn more about HDMI, HDCP & the Slingbox 500!
A primer on digital copy protection and it's impact on placeshifting.
If you select HDMI to view video in Watch on Slingbox.com and find that your HDMI input is disabled, here is why.
If you have video equipment that connects to your TV using an HDMI cable and then try to stream, you may get extremely poor or no video using Watch on Slingbox.com, SlingPlayer for Windows or SlingPlayer for Mac. Here's the reason and a way to fix it.
It's your content! Take it with you and enjoy it almost anywhere.
This Wikipedia article explains Selectable Output Control in depth.