A few months back, I stumbled upon some patent applications by the Krikorian brothers (AKA Sling Media founders and execs) that alluded to a device designed to receive broadcasts — as opposed to the Slingbox which broadcasts your home television signals.
Apparently they liked my proposed name, as Sling’s newest device has been branded the SlingCatcher. As both a geeky consumer and someone who tracks this space, I feel confident saying this device is huge. The ability to control (it has a remote!) and broadcast my Series3 TiVo in the living room via Slingbox to my bedroom TV via SlingCatcher is awesome. All those digital channels (IFC, NFL, etc) and content stored on the S3 we have in the living room will be accessible in the bedroom. Or at a buddies house. Or in a hotel. Kick ass!
Sling Media has huge plans for this device — streaming media from a Slingbox is just one feature they’ve got in the works. Another biggie that they’re ready to disclose: Computer-based client software will provide access a variety Internet video, both big and small, via your TV. Miss Lost? No problem, buy it online through the vendor of your choice and stream it via your Slingcatcher to watch on TV. Saw some ridiculous thing on YouTube? Share it on the TV rather than crowding around a laptop. Sounds pretty cool, but the success of this feature will depend on how well they execute the software interface.
Sling informs me there are quite a few other features (perhaps content downloads related to the recent launch of a New York-based Sling Media Entertainment group?) which they’ll reveal along the way to a mid-year release at less than $200.
The SlingCatcher will offer numerous connectivity options such as HDMI, component, USB, integrated WiFi, and an optional hard drive. I plan to get close up to whatever prototype Sling has on display here at CES and will report back later in the week.