Archives For Slingbox
Since we haven’t actually gotten around to an in-depth review of the newer HD Slingboxes or covered the current state of Sling’s webplayer (that has essentially replaced Mac and PC desktop software), we figured we should at least touch on this little nugget that Engadget turned up. In years and devices past, sharing one’s Slingbox meant sharing a password. But Sling has never shied away controversy, despite network and studio protest, and has revised sharing capabilities with individual, revocable tokens. The Slingbox viewing experience remains one-to-one and invites have been distributed by email address via the Sling.com portal. What’s new this week for Slingbox 350 and 500 owners is Facebook sharing which potentially reduces friction and provides Sling an opportunity to
advertise post to your wall (with your permission). Accepting an invite sends guests directly to Sling’s portal, and this isn’t related the possibly discontinued Facebook SlingPlayer introduced in 2011.
It may not be the Roku client we’ve been pining for, but as the post-Panasonic JVC continues to flesh out the video side of the Kenwood corporation, they’ve launched a new line of “BlackSapphire” Smart TVs sporting a native Slingbox app. The modestly priced and sized sets, clocking in at only 42″ and 47″, could make for a nice den SlingCatcher. Beyond Sling support, Netflix, Vudu, and Pandora are also present… along with a “flippable” QWERTY remote according to CNET. Of course, while many television manufacturers produce “smart” sets, I’ve yet to meet one with both an efficient and snappy UI. Not to mention, my Vizio has been known to crash/reboot at inopportune times, while my Panasonic is littered with ads. So JVC judgement will await CNET’s review.
After taking in the annual Cable Show, what struck me are the increasingly complex relationships – shifting and unpredictable alliances, enemies now friends, competitors snuffed… with the final chapters yet to be written. Much like HBO’s Game of Thrones. Beyond the corporate square dance, there’s clearly increased excitement surrounding TV Everywhere. So head on over to The Verge where I penned an article touching on these topics, including exclusive reveals of TiVo’s forthcoming web portal.
While the Slingbox may be the most well known placeshifting technologies, there have been others… And Sling Media rival Monsoon, makers of HAVA and Vulkano devices, licensed their tech to Belkin under the @TV brand in 2012. Presumably due to Belkin’s broad retail footprint, Sling took issue and launched a patent infringement suit in January. Monsoon has yet to respond, but Belkin and Sling have just worked out a deal (subject to ITC approval) according to Law360:
Sling Media asked the trade body to dismiss Belkin from its investigation into whether rival companies were infringing six patents for the proprietary technology. The two companies said they’d reached a settlement
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…
Among Sling Media and Netgear’s various CES announcements is news that Slingbox streaming is coming to the NeoTV line of streamers. Of course, we’d probably expect a repurposing of the original Flash-based Logitech Revue SlingPlayer for the new (and slightly bulkier) NeoTV Prime running Google TV. But the more Roku-esque models, including the NeoTV MAX we reviewed, will also receive dedicated apps – perhaps as soon as next week. So, for the first time, you can get your hands on a “SlingCatcher” for as little as 50 bucks and stream your Slingbox content to another television in your home… or perhaps to a set in the ski lodge, given sufficient bandwidth. Of course the follow-on question is, “Where’s the Roku client?” And while Sling reps weren’t prepared to elaborate, I get the sense there are both technical and business considerations at play.
The Wall Street Journal is out with a report indicating my former employer, and the visionary behind the Slingbox, has landed a new gig:
Microsoft Corp.has acquired a small home-entertainment technology startup to beef up its Xbox unit, according to people familiar with the matter. The company, id8 Group R2 Studios Inc., was created by entrepreneur Blake Krikorian in May 2011. Mr. Krikorian will be joining the Redmond, Wash., software giant with a small team. As part of the deal, Microsoft also acquired some patents owned by the startup related to controlling electronic devices.
Blake’s dabbled and invested in a variety of a projects since moving on from the Echostar-acquired Sling Media, but this latest move is notable as he’s once again assembled a seemingly valuable team and patent portfolio. But, unlike Sling’s exit, R2 Studios is more early gestation – perhaps ripe for nurturing and integration into the ever expanding Xbox ecosystem. Home automation and placeshifting? Sure, why not! Unfortunately, as Ross Rubin tweets, the implication remains that Media Center development has been mothballed.