Archives For Slingbox

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.

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.

Sling-ads

Slingbox M2 En Route

Dave Zatz —  July 12, 2015 — 6 Comments

By way of some updated product pages Sling Media prematurely published and then pulled, but fortunately cached by Google, we see a Slingbox M2 is on the way. Like every Slingbox, the OG and still most liberating TV Everywhere solution, the M2 is designed to beam your television content both around the home and beyond to computers, set-tops, and mobiles. The obvious successor to the wireless 1080p Slingbox M1, which we quite liked … until the ad blitz, the M2 appears to clock in at the same $150 MSRP. Beyond the name, I wasn’t able to glean much from the limited description and will just go ahead an assume Echostar’s goal here is to reduce the company’s hardware expenses while improving the end-user experience. But how much demand will there be given the vast number of competitive streaming options out there, that possibly cover many people’s needs much of the time? Continue Reading…

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)