Slingbox Mobile Clients To Drop Fees, Offer Paid Ad-Free Upgrade

Dave Zatz —  July 13, 2015

Perhaps in conjunction with the introduction of a new Slingbox M2, we’re being told that Slingbox mobile clients for Android and iOS will soon be free -as opposed to the current $15 or original $30 SlingPlayer price points. Presumably the company can assume these costs in order to move more hardware and given the introduction of ad serving… well, all over the place. But here’s where it gets real interesting, as they look to the Amazon Kindle model: Echostar’s SlingMedia will provide an in-app purchase option to remove those ads. As to existing customers and the desktop or web clients, we’re just going to have to wait and see. But this is certainly an interesting twist for new customers looking to Sling for the most versatile TV everywhere solution.

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9 responses to Slingbox Mobile Clients To Drop Fees, Offer Paid Ad-Free Upgrade

  1. When the Slingplayer app for the Fire TV launched back in December, it was, to my knowledge, their only free app. I figured it was free because it was only compatible with 3 of their boxes, but maybe it was a trial run of this new pricing model.

  2. All desktop access and native set-top apps have been free, starting with the Logitech Revue (RIP) and later WDTV Play then FireTV. Roku and Apple TV require mobile apps for beaming and control.

  3. I believe all the DESKTOP apps and web client apps, as well as the ROKU apps were always free.. only the clear mobile client (and kindle fire for whatever that’s worth) had the 15$ fee.

    hopefully, those who already OWN the iphone/ipad/android clients won’t be affected when upgrading to whatever new app updates come out I wouldn’t mind a tad ad-pre-roll once in a while, but if it’s anything like the desktop or web client versions – now THAT would be annoying.. add to that (no pun intended) that I only see spanish language ads? WHAT?

    giving up the 15$, might increase buyers of of the hardware, but I just don’t see it. I cannot imagine that their ad-model with ad buyers could possibly make up 15$ over the course of less than say 3-5 YEARS! Simply not enough volume of ads, or logins.. granted the user is probably a nice demo, so the CPM is higher but still – FB puts ads EVERYWHERE for a regular user and gets what 4$ a YEAR in the USA (much less elsewhere) It’s got to be a loss leader to drive HW sales (where any new version of the SB’s probably has some higher margin)

  4. I can’t wait for the extra fee to use the fullscreen button. ;-)

    I still wish we could just go back to the good old days of the locally installed Slingplayer. I still don’t need their help connecting to my own equipment.

  5. M1 has Windows and Mac desktop clients… but it’s just a shell for the pre-existing Chrome plugin/extension which no longer works due to changes Google has made in their browser – maybe NPAPI, can’t recall. Not sure if Sling intends to keep it in play or retire it but, in any event, it’s nothing like the desktop players of the yore with granular control like port selection. Your stream is their stream, these days.

    tivoboy, the banner ads probably aren’t significant. But unskippable video ads would be quite lucrative. I’m sure they’d eclipse that $15… on a recurring basis. They probably hope folks do NOT pay to turn them off. If they’re real clever and annoying, they’ll trigger a video add with every channel change or new recording you pull up with say a max of 1 per hour.

  6. FWIW, as a user of the PC browser player, if you switch to the Popup Player, there are absolutely no ads–EVER! Unfortunately, a lot of folk don’t know about the Popup Player option. It is an icon near the top right of the browser page with the icon looking like two rectangles with one on top of the others. The Popup player opens as a separate window that you can re-size as you with and use a 3rd party tool like Window On Top to keep that Sling Popup window always on top. I enjoy great ad-free Sling viewing once in the Popup Player.

    As to the new model, it may work better than some think because the #1 rabid complaint of new users or those who would otherwise invest in a Slingbox is the fee for the mobile apps that absolutely OFFENDS a large number of potential users, and I agree. But at least now we can see what will replace the revenue from App sales: advertising. If it is implemented as it is with the browser where there is a pre-roll ad that can be skipped when the player launches, and static ads once fully loaded BUT, NO ADS IN THE POPUP PLAYER experience, then I am ALL FOR no charge/free Sling apps. It isn’t advertising that I object to, it is HOW such ads are implemented or how obnoxious they can be in lack of control.

  7. I’ll deal with a pre-roll ad I can’t skip than PAY them MORE MONEY. FWIW, I took my Amazon Kindle Fire with ADS. I just saw no value to paying since the ads are ONLY when you first boot-up or wake-up after the Fire goes to sleep. I have to say that I am glad I did not pay the money because the ads appearing as they do are absolutely no problem. It will depend upon how obnoxious Sling plans to make the ad experience.

  8. New FREE apps are live… Bloomberg alludes to the pre-roll advertising and I’ve added a screen capture of the paid upgrade up top. Seems like a reasonable compromise.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slingplayer-free-for-ipad/id971593140?mt=8

  9. “Bloomberg alluding to pre-roll commericals”

    One can only hope Scientology buys up the bulk of the inventory. Hail Xenu!