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Using Third Party USB-C Expanders, Adapters or Hubs with SlingStudio

The SlingStudio USB-C Expander is NOT proprietary, but it does have a higher set of specifications necessary for supporting the high bitrates, bandwidth, and throughput required for video production.


When considering third-party alternatives, we recommend reputable brand name adapters with support for the latest technologies and widest compatibility (Windows, Mac and Linux support, USB 3.0 or 3.1, Gigabit Ethernet, Power Delivery (PD), 4K HDMI support, etc).


For reference, SlingStudio’s original USB-C Expander has two USB 3.0 ports (for connecting optional external storage) and one Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet port (for connecting to a wired internet connection). Third-party adapters may have a different assortment of ports. However, most high quality “all-in-one” USB-C hubs for around $40 or more will match or exceed the features of the original SlingStudio USB-C Expander.


Please note that while many USB-C adapters will work with SlingStudio itself for your production needs, those same adapters might not be fully compatible if you plan on using them interchangeably across Windows/MacOS/Linux, older version of those operating systems, etc.


When considering third-party USB-C adapters/hubs, please follow the guidelines below:


MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THIRD-PARTY ADAPTERS
  • USB hub/adapter MUST have software driver support for Linux (Kernel Version 3.14), Windows (7, 8 & 10) and Mac.
  • RJ45 Ethernet port MUST support "Gigabit" speeds (10/100/1000Mbps).
  • USB (Type A) ports MUST support USB 3.0 and be backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1.
  • USB (Type A) ports MUST be capable (“bus powered”) of providing sufficient power for external storage drives (some drives may require up to 900mA power).


Recommended Substitutes


For an optimal experience, we recommend “all-in-one” USB-C hubs that have an assortment of ports for USB, Ethernet, HDMI, SD cards, etc. These hubs may be called something like “5-in-1” or “7-in-1” USB adapters.

When researching options, the most important tech spec to look for is Linux support.

Please note that more ports isn’t necessarily better; the more accessories that are connected, the less power may be left for running your external drive. Also, the more complicated the hub, the less “plug-and-play” compatibility it may have if you are planning to re-purpose it for everyday use with your computer (for example, the adapter might work with the SlingStudio hub, but it might not work with a desktop/laptop). 


Suggested price range: $40 to $75

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Related articles

What is the function of the SlingStudio USB-C Expander?
SlingStudio USB-C Expander Technical Specifications