Archives For Slingbox

slingbox-sale

Who knows if this is an extra special promotion, merely a pricing mistake, or the end of the line for the Slingbox 500. Irrespective of reason, Sears is offering up the device once known as Sling TV for more than half off at $140. New, not refurb, and shipped free. At $300, the Slingbox 500 makes no sense. But with this fire sale pricing, you benefit from the same wireless connectivity found in the lower-end Slingbox M1 along with (sometimes frustrating) HDMI pass-thru and a few TV-based perks your Roku or Fire TV probably does much better. Despite the now ad-compromised experience, Slingbox remains the most versatile solution to stream your video within or beyond the home. Should this deal appeal, you better act fast… as I suspect it’ll be gone as quickly as that $300 TiVo OTA with Lifetime Service.

tivo-roamio-drive

Given periodic tuner conflicts with my Premiere XL4/Elite, due to recording duties and Mini streaming, and a desire to periodically offload DVR-ed shows, something the devalued Slingbox cannot offer,  I’ve been quite pleased since taking TiVo up on their 10 year customer deal last month for a 6-tuner Roamio. Indeed, while TiVo’s “Stream” functionality isn’t currently as robust or reliable as Sling’s, I downloaded several episodes of Arrow onto an iPad for two recent flights. Even with the more frequent drops or need to restart a stream as the 5PM news flips to 6PM, given TiVo’s need to initiate a recording prior to streaming, it’s still far more efficient and pleasant than Sling for “watching TV” at the dinner table. My only real issue since upgrading TiVo has been storage capacity…

My Lifetimed Premiere XL4 provided 3TB for recordings. And while we’re probably watching less “cable” television these days, we’re hoarding much more content as we accumulate seasons and half-seasons for binge viewing, sans commercial interruption. TiVo had offered me the Roamio Plus (1TB) for $500 or the Roamio Pro (3TB) for $700, both with Lifetime service. I figured I’d give the smaller drive a shot to potentially save a few bucks… and knowing I could upgrade on my own down the road, for less than TiVo charges for the drive delta, should 1TB prove insufficient.

Fast forward a few weeks… Continue Reading…

Slingbox, Now Covered In Ads

Dave Zatz —  March 20, 2015

new-slingplayer-interface

Late last fall, Sling Media began experimenting placing ads within the Slingbox web client – both obtrusively placed banner ads and pre-roll video ads.

Well, as a follow-on, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Ha, just kidding, it’s all bad news… as those who accepted the prompt to download the latest desktop Slingplayer client in time for March Madness are now treated to an interface overrun with ads, as shown above. Going full screen or shrinking the window does reduce the chrome and ads; However, it’s still a startling spammy intrusion. If that wasn’t disappointing enough, Sling has seriously overstepped when it comes to their Slingbox 500 owners who shelled out $300 for the benefit of video pass-thru and television output now sullied by banner advertisement overlays. Initially, Sling is promoting new features. But we can guess where this is going. And not only do they drop the ad unit on top of your video, their implementation is flawed in that both sound and video are briefly interrupted as it clears. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the mobile apps – at some point will they too receive ads and, if so, would that result in dropping the $15 iPhone and Android fee?

(Update: Sling Media PR informs me that the Slingbox 500 overlay will not be used for third party ads and paid mobile apps will not receive ads. Further, they’d like to direct folks to this Multichannel article which covers their web and desktop player ad-serving position.)

Continue Reading…

slingtv

Update: As an update to the original story below, I just had a call (or two or three) with Echostar’s Sling Media and their reps. They want to assure us that Slingbox ain’t going anywhere — in fact, they mentioned DISH CEO Joe Clayton stated as much during the press conference that introduced the new Sling TV. What’s happened is that DISH has licensed “Sling” and “Sling TV” from Echostar, who has vacated sling.com, and the Slingbox 500 that became the Sling TV reverts once again to the Slingboox 500. (Although, irrespective of name, I remain concerned with 500/STV sales and continue to recommend their equally capable M1 placeshifter at half the cost for those with a need.)

Possibly the most disruptive product announcement out of CES this week is DISH’s long foreshadowed Internet television service. And, amongst several surprises, is “Sling TV” branding. I guess it’s nice that DISH chose to repurpose the sling.com Echostar asset… as you’d be horrified to learn what we had paid for that URL. Having said that, it certainly clocked in far less than the questionable “Blockbuster” acquisition — a name which would have made a lot of sense in this space. At the very least, we’re glad to see they backed away from DishWorld and an awful “nuTV“.

But, where it gets real weird is that the Slingbox 500 was renamed… Sling TV… less than six months ago. While I was not impressed with that product at its inflated price point, saying goodbye is hard and I suspect this clearly last minute change-up foreshadows the death of at least one Slingbox. If not all of them. Continue Reading…

slingbox-fire-tv

Without a hint of marketing muscle, SlingPlayer for Amazon Fire TV was quietly introduced a day or so ago. As you’d expect, the app allows you to pipe Slingbox video to another television in the home or really anywhere in the world. Or so their new TV Everywhere campaign proclaims. While I’m not prepared to pass judgement after only a few minutes of steaming TiVo > Fire TV Stick, it does indeed work as advertised (although only Slingbox 350, M1, and SlingTV/500 models are supported).

Interestingly, unlike recent Chromecast and Roku clients, this particular Slingbox presentation does not require a $15 mobile app in the mix… and harks back to the days of the Logitech Revue and WDTV Slingplayer. However, the fee-free sensation may be short-lived given the recently introduced and persistent banner ads now found in the web player… along with pre-roll video advertisements now being injected into our streams?!

(Via our pal Arne in Munich)

slingplayer-chrome

As Google modernizes their Chrome web browser, Sling has alerted customers that they’re unprepared to continue streaming support at this time.

As part of their 64-bit upgrade process, Google is discontinuing the support of 32-bit browser extensions for Mac OS X and Windows computers. Since the current version of Watch on Slingbox.com for Mac and PC uses a 32-bit browser extension, it is therefore no longer supported by the latest version of the Chrome browser. You won’t be able to stream from your Slingbox using the latest version of the Chrome browser. We are in the process of addressing this issue and are expecting a temporary interruption of the free, web-based Slingplayer service for Chrome browsers version 39 and above.

While Sling has once again released a desktop client (yes!), it’s incomplete and support hasn’t been extended to most models (not to mention the software is next to impossible to find) — so that’s not an option for most impacted by this news. Indeed, in speaking with Sling last June, I got the sense that their player intentions were somewhat in flux… so it’ll be interesting to see where we ultimately land. For the interim, I guess us Slingbox owners have one more reason to keep Yahoo’s Firefox around.

SlingPlayer Headrest Enroute

Dave Zatz —  October 11, 2014

slingplayer-headrest

While the kludgey Roku antenna has failed to materialize, Voxx is moving forward with a possibly outlandish plan to stream your Slingbox into the car. From their earnings call:

The VOXX Hirschmann team has signed a Letter of Intent creating a strategic partner with EchoStar Sling Media, where we will be integrating a Sling player directly into our rear seat entertainment products to bring the T.V. content you enjoy in your home directly into the vehicle. Consumers want the content they have at home on the road and our product will deliver the richest content of any rear-seat entertainment system on the market.

Of course, there are cheaper and simpler ways to solve this particular problem (say an iPad strapped to a headrest). But an integrated Sling TV does indeed sound like an elegant solution, even if app services require latching onto your smartphone for network connectivity (TBD). Other than the brief blurb above, nothing further has been revealed, including which Voxx subsidiary this initiative might fall under. However, we’d guess Audiovox given their vertical and prior automotive Android experimentation — more details are expected “soon