Archives For Placeshifting

Having settled with Belkin back in June, Sling Media’s placeshifting intellectual property was further bolstered today when the International Trade Commission closed out the case against Monsoon Multimedia via a US import and sales ban of products that infringe upon 6 Sling patents.

The Commission has determined that the appropriate form of relief in this investigation is a limited exclusion order prohibiting the unlicensed entry of electronic devices having placeshifting or display replication functionality and products containing the same that are manufactured abroad by or on behalf of, or imported by or on behalf of, the Defaulting Respondents by reason of infringement of one or more of claims […] The Commission has also determined to issue cease and desist orders directed against Monsoon and C2 Microsystems, which prohibit, inter alia, the importation, sale, advertising, marketing, and distribution of covered products in the United States by the Defaulting Respondents.

Over the years, Monsoon has marketed various streamers including Continue Reading…

Arris Sling gateway MS4000 Front AngleX

Hot on the heels of its exclusive partnership with Sling, Arris is already talking additional set-top enhancements. With smarter gateways available to handle video transcoding in the home, Arris wants to slim down client devices and create new form factors that challenge the traditional set-top box. At the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo show, the company described plans to develop hardware like the Chromecast streaming stick. That type of dongle would plug directly into a user’s TV and connect over Wi-Fi to the home gateway – to expand options for whole-home networking and simplify access to premium content from multiple TVs.

Meanwhile on the Sling front, an industry insider suggested at the SCTE Expo that the placeshifting deal was done twice with Arris; first with Arris of old, and second with Arris after the Motorola acquisition. Now that everything’s signed, sealed, and delivered, it’s not clear if any major U.S. cable operators will integrate a Sling solution. However, given Netflix looks to be on the table, I supposed anything’s possible these days in cable land. Certainly cable companies are watching their satellite TV counterparts to see how far they can push the envelope with programmers. Continue Reading…

TiVo & Sling Duke It Out

Dave Zatz —  October 26, 2013


Hot on the heels of Roamio’s out-of-home streaming release, TiVo and Sling have begun trading blows online. And, once again, TiVo is positioning their DVR as the One Box. However, unlike the Premiere platform, they have a much more compelling argument this time around… featuring that aforementioned streaming and a usable Netflix client. However, without the Opera TV app store, they still fall ridiculously short of Roku’s vast library of channels and TiVo’s limited DIAL support is no match Apple’s infinitely capable Airplay.

In the other corner, Sling lays out a streaming comparison that is mostly correct. TiVo Roamio is currently limited to iOS and WiFi, whereas a Slingbox is largely agnostic when it comes to connection and platform. Sling claims Roamio is incapable of automatic quality adjustment, which we now know to be inaccurate Continue Reading…


geniegoDirecTV’s placeshifting Nomad has been rebranded as the GenieGo. Further, the satcaster has dropped the price from $150 to a more compelling $99. The device initially only transcoded and transferred DVR recordings, but has since expanded its capabilities by also providing (almost) live television in-home streaming – comparable to the competing TiVo Stream and DISH Sling Hopper. However, unlike the TiVo Stream, DirecTV has just released an Android app (which isn’t receiving the greatest of reviews) to go along with their longstanding iPhone support. However, for pure streaming, the Sling Hopper remains best-in-class as Slingbox functionality is baked directly into STB hardware, without requiring a separate box, and content can be beamed both within the home and beyond. But for those with limited or no bandwidth whilst on the move, both the GenieGo and TiVo Stream conveniently provide video offloading functionality… although preparing and transferring the content can be a bit kludgy.

Fellow tech enthusiast and DC neighbor Joel Ward joins ZNF as a Features contributor. Beyond ZNF, Joel can be found at Joel Explains It All and @joelsef on Twitter.

We at the Ward household like trying new things—or at least my wife and kids tolerate me periodically tinkering with our home computing, entertainment, and networking configurations. Entertainment-wise, we’ve been using Roku for years and enjoy the Verizon FiOS TV DVR system quite a bit. Back in the day, before Verizon and HDTV, we enjoyed our networked ReplayTV DVRs and Netflix DVD subscription. So we’ve appreciated time-shifted TV and renting/streaming video for a long time.

Recently we got the opportunity to test out the Boxee Cloud DVR thanks to Zatz Not Funny’s very own Dave Zatz. I ended up replacing our living room Roku with the Boxee so we could get some real-life experience, including input from the kids who are the primary users of the now-removed Roku. We didn’t replace the FiOS cable box, mainly because we rely on a myriad of cable channels that the Boxee can’t yet support. But that’s a discussion for a little later.

Boxee Cloud DVR hardware

The Boxee Cloud DVR ($99) is a standalone device that has the following features: ATSC over-the-air (OTA) and Clear QAM cable tuner, the “cloud” digital video recorder (DVR) for OTA channels, and a small selection of network and online services.

After using the Boxee for a few weeks, Continue Reading…

Aereo logo and antenna array

Aereo has been super savvy in grabbing headlines of late. If you’re not caught up on the story so far, the start-up TV company has expanded to a few new markets, won another round in court against broadcasters, and left Fox, CBS and others frothing at the mouth and threatening to move free programming over to a paid service model.

The thing about Aereo is, while the conceptual disruption is huge, the impact of the actual service is still vanishingly small.

Continue Reading…

Sling Needs More Cowbell

Dave Zatz —  March 2, 2013

While the new Slingboxes are here, we can’t help but wonder if there’s room in Sling’s lineup for an additional model. We really do appreciate the (partial) HDMI pass-thru and 802.11n capabilities of the Slingbox 500, but we’re not quite certain it lives up to its $300 price tag… yet. Further down the line, we have the Slingbox 350 which is relatively compact and retains the 1080p streaming capabilities of its big brother for $180.

But what about the placeshifting-curious? Those who either aren’t quite sold or perhaps have only an infrequent need to watch their home television content while on the road. I suspect this is where a sub-$100 streamer would get decent traction. And, believe it or not, Sling already manufactures a potential candidate. The Slingbox 120, which is affectionally referred to as ‘The Cowbell’, probably didn’t wind up in many US homes via an exclusive Verizon Wireless rental option but it did hit store shelves in India. The conversion rate still pegs this standard def Slingbox at about $150, but we’re confident the Echostar-backed Sling could mass produce and peddle something similar on modern hardware, under $100 a pop… for those without the integrated slinging capabilities of a DISH Hopper 2, anyway. And, while they’re at it, let’s further reduce the price of the SlingPlayer mobile client from $14.99 to $9.99 (and produce a universal iOS app). Continue Reading…

Aereo hearts cable

People think of Aereo as a cable competitor, but the company’s real fight is with OTA broadcasters who don’t want to lose retransmission revenue. And if Aereo were to win its war in court, some pay-TV providers might very well decide to partner with the company rather than battle against it.

Jeff Baumgartner reports that the topic of cable partnerships came up this week at the annual NCTC winter conference. The National Cable  Telecommunications Cooperative is made up of independent cable operators, and Aereo’s CEO Chet Kanojia participated on a panel at the organization’s recent event. Reportedly Kenojia said Aereo would “take a very open approach with everyone we choose to work with,” and that he’d be “‘ecstatic’ to work with a like-thinking cable ISP.”

In other words, despite its marketing rhetoric, Aereo – like TiVo before it – would love to break into the cable biz.

Personally, I’m convinced that even if Aereo doesn’t win in court, it has other options for peddling its services. Beyond the now-famous dime-size antennas, Aereo appears to be operating sophisticated transcoding and video delivery technology. I imagine the Aereo solution is similar to what the TiVo Stream or Morega’s DirecTV Nomad device provides, except that the transcoding process takes place in the cloud rather than on a device in the home. The basic transcoding isn’t novel – plenty of companies offer transcoding services – but the ability to do it well and at scale is another thing entirely. Until all television content is transmitted in IP, Aereo has another potential technology ace up its sleeve, and plenty of patents to support it.