So much for getting to bed at a reasonable hour… as EchoStar just hit us with four Sling-related announcements. As I promised last week. Unfortunately, none of these Slingbox devices are headed to retail and will be exclusively offered via cable or satellite provider. Which, in the near term, means solely DISH Network.
The Sling Monitor 150 (above) and the Sling Receiver 300 (below center) represent the evolution of the SlingCatcher concept, if not platform – providing a means to remotely display streamed content from a Slingbox-esque device, such as the upcoming SlingLoaded 922 DVR. The Slingbox 700u (bottom left) looks to be a USB accessory to provide non-SlingLoaded DISH/Echo STBs with placeshifting capabilities. Lastly, we’ve got the sexy looking WiFi & IR Sling Touch Control remote designed to interface with SlingLoaded DVRs, plus your other A/V accessories, and display an EPG. Collectively, DISH Network is branding their placeshifting product line and functionality as TV Everywhere. (Where have we heard that phrase before?)
I’ll be swinging by EchoStar’s booth Thursday AM to get a firsthand look at the new Sling gear and dig a bit deeper into their distribution strategy. Because as it stands, it seems to me that they just announced their intentions to abandon direct-to-consumer retail sales. (When is Palm’s press conference? Maybe they’ll pleasantly surprise me with a webOS SlingPlayer client.)
Click to enlarge: