Archives For Slingbox

sling-airtv

As I revealed in April, Echostar and DISH Network are collaborating on an audacious plan to pipe the national television networks into Sling TV without the headache and expense of franchine licensing. “AirTV” repurposes Slingbox M1/M2 hardware with over-the-air (OTA) antenna capabilities to stream NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and other locals into the various Sling TV client applications.

From a draft Amazon listing:

With AirTV and an HD antenna, you can stream live local programming, news and your local sports anywhere in your home using the free Sling TV app and its integrated program guide. No paid contracts-just free local TV on any compatible device. And if you want more channels, you can subscribe to paid Sling TV packages-all from the same app.

  • You can watch AirTV from the Sling TV app on Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
  • Compatible with antennas such as: Mohu Wine Gard RCA …and all others

Continue Reading…

Back in 2014, Echostar’s Sling Media began injecting ads into both the Slingbox client interface and into the video stream itself. As you might imagine, many of us were displeased. Also, as you might imagine, some decided to take this to court as a class-action lawsuit. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, their legal team doesn’t appear to be well-versed in Slingbox technology (which has not been available for “decades”). Nor do they appear to be very thorough. Although I give them credit for coming strong by proposing an outrageous $5,000,000 in damages.

Some highlights from the National Law Review:

there was no allegation that Sling Media actually stated the slinging functions would be “ad free.” Likewise, the court observed that the lead plaintiffs failed to allege whether they bought their devices after Sling Media allegedly formed its intent to insert ads and before Sling Media launched the new feature (thereby disclosing the intent).

The court also found that the consumers failed to allege “injury.” The plaintiffs implied that Sling Media’s “use” of the plaintiffs’ property was itself an injury (like a private version of a “takings” claim).

The impact of the Sling Media decision is tempered by the fact that it was a decision on a motion to dismiss (and allowed plaintiffs to move for leave to amend).

Remembering Blake

Dave Zatz —  August 11, 2016 — 2 Comments

While others are better suited to pen a remembrance, I too have fond memories of Blake Krikorian – who most know as the guy behind the Slingbox.

We first connected the summer of 2005 on AVS Forum… which is an unusual place to find a company CEO geeking out (and taking on trolls). I had a bone to pick since Windows XP Slingbox support wasn’t sufficient, given what I assumed (wink wink) was a potential customer base of folks in corporate settings running Windows 2000.

In October of 2005, shortly after this blog got going and well before Sling Media hired me, Blake agreed to hop on a call for a recorded interview. Being the least productive blogger ever and given the poor audio quality, I never ran the conversation. Not to mention his handlers probably wouldn’t have appreciated me airing much of our fun, frank, and wide-ranging 60 minute chat. However, the prescient clip below highlights Blake’s focus on the consumer experience and foreshadows Sling’s ultimate acquisition by Echostar that led to the DISH Hopper with Slingbox.


airtv-guide2

Bypassing content licensing, Sling TV may soon cram customer’s local television channels directly into the company’s pay TV service via a small set-top box and antenna.

Last summer, I came across a curious Echostar trademark application for “AirTV” which was later discovered to be a pedestrian new Slingbox out of Echo’s Sling Media subsidiary. However, given a well-timed tip, from a trusted source alerting me to incoming Sling Media hardware, that coincides with a lifting of the FCC’s short-term confidentiality, an audacious game plan has now been revealed.

By and large, the challenge in licensing over-the-top streaming content has not been in securing a gaggle of traditional “cable” channels. Rather, it’s in bundling the national networks (think: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) due to their legion of regional affiliates – who expect to be compensated in cash and/or broadcast of their local advertising. The cost and logistical challenge in brokering these relationships is immense, as demonstrated by Sony recently scaling back the PlayStation Vue television service and, perhaps, given the M.I.A. Apple TV offering.

airtv-guide1

Well, DISH Network subsidiary Sling TV and Echostar subsidiary Sling Media have collaborated on what looks to be an effective and novel end-around in “AirTV.”

Continue Reading…

By way of The Donohue Report and Multichannel News, we seemingly learn that Slingbox will once again incorporate a tuner. While most folks hang a Slingbox off a DVR to meet their remote or mobile video needs, three prior models included tuners to placeshift unencrypted cable or over-the-air broadcasts. And it provided a real clean way to roll your own cloud TV service … long before “TV Anywhere” had entered the lexicon and cord cutting was a trend.

airtv

We first came across “AirTV” back in June and wondered if it might be some sort of Miracast solution. Given this new FCC-sourced “Slingbox OTA” label, it’s obviously something quite different. I doubt they’d incorporate DVR functionality given the additional complexity and expense, leaving those functions to the Echostar-produced Channel Master DVR+. As such, this really wouldn’t be a TiVo Bolt competitor. Pricing should be interesting — the new Slingbox M2 runs $200, but I’d think the sweet spot is closer to $150, even after dropping the mobile app fees (and adding ads to the experience).

While we’re not exactly fond of Sling Media’s business practices, we remain enamored of their placeshifting technology which remains best of breed. Similarly, the DISH Hopper offers one of best DVR experiences out there. Indeed – the latest, greatest Hopper includes Slingbox capabilities to catch your content around the house or beyond via smartphone, tablet, computer, or streaming box. So it’s quite curious to see the Slingbox-powered Hopper Go pass through the FCC today (under the Echostar banner).

Is this a companion product, perhaps something akin to the TiVo Stream, to bring placeshifting capabilities to less full featured DVRs? Related, could this imply the DISH Hopper 3 doesn’t natively transcode and stream content? And given the “Go” designation, could this also provide video offload capabilities to catch that recording on a subway or plane without connectivity?

More Sling Media Shenanigans

Dave Zatz —  September 18, 2015

Remember that Android or iOS SlingPlayer app that cost you $15 (or even $30!) to beam your Slingbox video around?  Well, the company is retiring it. And you’re welcome to replace it with a free, ad-infested variant.  Oh, you don’t like ads? Sling will gladly take another 15 of your hard earned dollars to remove them via an in-app purchase. At the very least, should your original app purchase cease to function, you’ll have some compelling new fodder for the class action lawsuit and I wonder if you can encourage iTunes to refund your original app purchase given its retirement and Sling’s double dipping.

sling-upgrade

UPDATE: It appears Sling may have changed course based on the feedback… and perhaps they had intended to take care of prior paying customers all along, but just failed in the communication department.

So, what we said yesterday about not supporting your paid version of Slingplayer after October 1? We realized that we could make things easier for everyone by just leaving things as they are, so the paid app will continue to be available and you don’t need to download the new, free Slingplayer app if you don’t want to.

But you should still download the new free app after October 1! It has great new features you don’t want to miss, and you’ll still have an ad-free experience. (As long as you download the free app from the same app store account you used to buy the original Slingplayer app)

(Thanks Mark P!)

Disappointed that the ad-free Slingbox you purchased was suddenly inundated with banner ads and pre-roll video commercials? Well, you’re not alone. And two customers have taken these infractions to court via a class action suit.

“Sling Media failed to disclose that the use of the product would be contingent upon and subject the purchaser to unrequested advertising from Defendant. Since approximately March 17, 2015, Sling Media suddenly began broadcasting such unrequested spam advertisements to users of its Slingboxes. Slingbox has perpetuated a massive ‘bait and switch’ upon thousands of unsuspecting consumers […] who now need to watch the defendant’s ads to use their devices as promised.”

[…]

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against Sling Media to produce and stream future original advertising through Slingbox without prior consent from purchasers. They also seek restitution and disgorgement of all profits garnered from the allegedly misleading business practices and commandeering of the devices, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees.

Perhaps Echostar’s Sling Media knew this day was coming… due to the introduction of the Slingbox M2, which looks just like the M1 yet is described as ad-supported. In any event, I won’t need to join the “class” as, for the first time since 2005, I am Slingbox-less — partially due to these gross intrusions.