Archives For Slingbox

Several pay-TV operators debuted iPad apps with streaming video in 2011, and most started offering live TV before the end of the year. Now Broadcom is hoping to take those TV Everywhere efforts a step further. This morning the chip maker announced an integration deal with EchoStar to embed Sling place-shifting tech in its dual-tuner HD gateway system on a chip (SoC), the BCM7425. The news means set-top makers, like heavyweights Motorola and Cisco, will soon be able to add a dose of Sling into their set-tops with the help of one of their existing suppliers.

To date, Dish Network is the only service provider offering place shifting with a Slingbox or “Slingloaded” set-top. All of the other live streaming apps on the market require users to stay within the bounds of their home Wi-Fi networks. Thanks to current licensing deals, and programmer squeamishness, TV Everywhere is more like TV Everywhere in Your House. However, Cablevision’s (until recently) COO Tom Rutledge already stated publicly in August that Cablevision is working to change that. The Sling-on-a-Chip news could help pave the way. If  “slinging” becomes more mainstream, it will be hard to argue that operators can’t offer the same functionality in their apps, with our without Broadcom’s SoC.

Broadcom says the new BCM7425 will be available in the third quarter of this year for cable, telecom and satellite TV operators.

New Slingbox App Fees Ahead?

Dave Zatz —  December 23, 2011


When the recently released Boxee and Google TV Slingbox client “apps” launched (1, 2), I was pretty psyched. Not only did this represent the first time we could stream our content television-to-television (without dedicated SlingCatcher hardware), unlike Echo Star’s mobile apps, these new services arrived at no cost. However, the fee-free element may merely be temporary given the latest Slingbox emailed newsletter:

During this introductory period SlingPlayer for Logitech Revue is free!

SlingPlayer for connected devices is free of charge in North America during this introductory period.

Interestingly, the way in which EchoStar first presented the Flash-based SlingPlayer for Connected Devices about a year ago led me to believe we might see some sort of monthly or annual subscription. Which is why last month I was “pleasantly surprised to see it’s being offered without a one-time or recurring fee.” But it looks like I may have spoken too soon and changes lie ahead… perhaps dependent on uptake.

On a broader scale, roll-your-own placeshifting technology remains a niche and transitional solution. So, for EchoStar to keep this division and product line alive, they probably need to see substantially more revenue and ongoing service fees could be just the ticket.

SlingPlayer Comes To Google TV

Dave Zatz —  December 16, 2011


After nearly a year in development, EchoStar has released the SlingPlayer for Google TV. And, as the recent Boxee and Facebook Slingbox players, what we’re really dealing with is a Flash-based webpage. As Engadget points out, this means you won’t necessarily have the same level of polished remote keymapping… yet the platform is infinitely more portable/reusable than a dedicated app for each OS. At least until Adobe kills mobile and television Flash. But, hey, at least it won’t run you $30 like Sling’s mobile apps.

Like all SlingPlayers, this version allows you to watch your home television content beyond the confines of your property line… OR within rooms, say, without a set-top box. Originally, the Slingbox streamed video to desktop software or mobile clients, but the advent of Boxee and Google TV provide for television-to-television streaming. So as bad as the Logitech Revue is, for $80 to $100 it makes a better “sling catcher” than the ill fated and discontinued SlingCatcher ($300).

To partake, you’ll need a Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD ($150 – $300) and the SlingPlayer “app” can be found under the Google TV Spotlight.

Everyone wants in on the EPG business. That’s one of the conclusions I took away from the SCTE Cable Tec-Expo event earlier this month. Even as CE manufacturers are pumping up the volume on connected devices with their own video interfaces, vendors in the cable TV world are pushing a range of solutions that tie the electronic program guide into larger content management systems for pay-TV operators. I talked about Rovi’s TotalGuide EPG a couple weeks back, and there’s Arris’ Moxi guide, but those two are far from the only players in this game. Here’s a sample of three other companies touting their own guide solutions.


Clearleap is perhaps better known in the world of Internet delivery than it is in the cable industry, but the company is rapidly carving out a niche among MSOs. Speaking with CTO John Carlucci at the SCTE event, I learned that Clearleap has a hosted, white-label guide on the market, and that it offers media services to help operators manage, encode and deliver video to connected devices. Clearleap’s solutions are strictly IP-based, but they’re already being used by Verizon for its VOD platform, and Carlucci says the company’s in trials with “four of the top five” operators for its media services. As for the guide specifically, Clearleap’s solution could be a compelling one for tier-2 and tier-3 operators. The service runs on a pay-as-you-go model, and Clearleap is rapidly adding advanced features. The company recently integrated with Great Lakes Data Systems (GLDS) to add options for a-la-carte transactions that are tied back to a subscriber’s monthly cable bill. (Think additional IP content purchases on top of the monthly subscription) Carlucci says social features are on the way. Orbitel, a small cableco out of Arizona, launched the Clearleap/GLDS solution in October to create a branded VOD experience on subscriber Roku boxes.


Motorola showed up with a reference EPG back at the Cable Show in 2010, but that’s as far as the company had ventured into the guide world until this fall. Continue Reading…

Boxee Now Streams Slingbox

Dave Zatz —  November 22, 2011

Hot on the heels of their Facebook Slingbox app, EchoStar has just officially unveiled a SlingPlayer for Connected Devices. While it’s been in beta testing for some time and we expected to see initial support for Google TV, the Boxee Box (~$180) is up first.

The Slingbox (~$150) has always allowed one to view their home television on the go or around the house, yet there’s never been a way to do so in a lean-back fashion… beyond the half-baked SlingCatcher. So this SlingPlayer for Connected Devices effectively turns gadgets we already own into virtual Catchers for TV-to-TV viewing. And, I’m pleasantly surprised to see it’s being offered without a one-time or recurring fee.

Unfortunately, this first iteration is probably Flash-based like the aforementioned Facebook app, limiting it’s distribution and potential – due to the small number of Flash-capable set-top boxes and Adobe’s abandonment of “digital home devices”. An even better solution? Non-Flash Slingbox apps for Roku and Apple TV.

(via TechCrunch)

Slingbox Player Comes To Facebook

Dave Zatz —  November 18, 2011

Earlier today, Echostar launched their Slingplayer for Facebook application enabling Slingbox SOLO (~$150) and Slingbox PRO-HD (~$250) owners to stream their home television content through one of the worlds most popular web destinations. (demo video above) Unlike the stand-alone computer applications or existing web players, this requires no software install… meaning folks might experience more flexibility in how and where they view their feed (work,a friend’s home, Kinkos). Sling’s probably also banking on the social nature of Facebook as we advertise their solution to our friends. Unfortunately, the still mostly ubiquitous Flash browser plugin is required and owners of older Slingbox models need not apply.

Speaking of Flash, I suspect this web app features the same underpinnings as the Google TV SlingPlayer demo-ed at CES and upcoming Boxee implementation. Unfortunately, there’s still no word when that SlingPlayer for Connected Devices will launch… or if it’ll carry with it some sort of monthly access fee. All the more reason to identify what URL Sling’s new Facebook app is calling? Continue Reading…

Looks like I missed a good time in NYC last week. Amidst the pre, pre-holiday tech events, gdgt hosted Sling Media. Who reiterated their intentions to provide a leanback interface for Slingbox viewing. Basically, a SlingCatcher… without a SlingCatcher. At CES, SlingPlayer for Connected Devices was demo-ed on Google TV. Which I discovered was merely a Flash-based webpage, versus a dedicated app. Fortunately, that opens the door for easily servicing all sorts of platforms. Enter, the Boxee experience filmed by Engadget above at gdgt’s shindig.

While it seems we’re stuck with the laborious “SlingPlayer” naming convention, the otherwise compelling service is expected to enter public beta as soon as next month. You’ll need a Slingbox SOLO or a PRO-HD, but it’s not quite clear which Connected Devices will be supported on the other end. At the very least, Google TV is a lock, with a shortcut to be found the Spotlight section, as is a listing under Boxee’s Apps. So those are the brokered deals. But, as a webpage, there may be other hardware options available. Like the PS3?

Unfortunately, it’s not clear yet if this service will be saddled with a fee. And, if so, would Sling go with a monthly subscription or follow in their mobile app footsteps with something like a one time $30 charge? Regardless, color me interested. Although, in-home and given the latency, I think I’d prefer TiVo Premiere-to-Premiere or FiOS DVR-to-DVR streaming.

Unveiled at CES in January, EchoStar’s Slingbox client for Google TV is nearly ready for its closeup. And, I have to say, it’s probably the most exciting new development out of Sling since we they were acquired.

Instead of relying on a large software package or proprietary browser plugin, the first “SlingPlayer for Connected Devices” rev is essentially a Flash-based website. Connect a Slingbox to your home entertainment gear and stream your content anywhere in the world you’ve got access to a web browser. Including that GoogleTV in the other room. Despite recent and frequent Adobe Flash negativity, it’s fairly ubiquitous and this is as close as clientless we’ll get in the placeshifting realm. Continue Reading…