Archives For Slingbox

I told you Sling had some unexpected and positive news here at CES. In addition to the upcoming Google TV SlingPlayer functionality, they’ve announced a partnership with Verizon. Not only is it  huge accomplishment to broker a deal with a major US carrier, for those of us who remember, it’s also somewhat ironic… As early in Sling’s history, Verizon was the one who said something like three Slingbox customers hitting a single Verizon tower could bring it down. Which, of course, was nonsense. But it gives you a sense of how far Sling has come. And perhaps how far Verizon’s network has come.

While at Sling’s booth, I got a general sense of how this partnership will work. In a few months, as LTE smartphones launch, Verizon will offer a complete Slingbox package to include a new placeshifter, powerline networking gear, and software. I suspect there’ll be some sort of upfront hardware fee or deposit, along with a monthly service charge. I also assume that even though offered through Verizon, the new Slingbox will function identically to existing Slingboxes… and given the mobile focus, I imagine the resolution will be comparable to the 640×480 SOLO (versus PRO-HD hardware).

Engadget managed to snap some pictures of the new Slingbox. And, as you can see, it’s quite small and can be positioned either horizontally vertically. Although it’s not nearly as attractive as DISH Network’s cheese grating Slingbox. Unfortunately, I still haven’t heard of any new retail Sling gear. So I guess it continues to be the SOLO or PRO-HD.

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Watch Slingbox on Google TV!

Dave Zatz —  January 7, 2011

slingplayer-googletv-3

It turns out my old friends at Sling Media do have one or two new and notable items to share from CES. And first up is a Google TV SlingPlayer client — eliminating the need for dedicated SlingCatcher hardware (that didn’t turn out so great anyway). It should go without saying that I’m very pleased to see Sling move in this direction… as I assume this is just the first of various television- and set-top-based apps.

The initial Google TV app isn’t actually an app, but rather a Flash website optimized for the platform. As you can see from the pics, they’re logically carrying the Android interface onto the Android-based Google TV. The software and experience look pretty dang complete, with streaming up to 1080i, but all Sling will tell me is that they intend to launch sometime this year. However, it’d make sense to see them ultimate move to a dedicated app if/when Google launches a television-based marketplace – something that seems like an inevitability. Continue Reading…

Late last night, an updated SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone was released to the App Store. And the refreshed placeshifting software inherits two notable features from its iPad big brother… the new program guide and, much more significantly, higher resolution streaming — I’m thinking in the neighborhood of 640×480 and utilizing H.264 encoding. Which is why only the newer, more capable Slingbox SOLO and PRO-HD units can provide it.

Unfortunately, I’m not in the position to test much of anything at the moment. While I’ve downloaded the update, my PRO-HD (and a ton of other gear) is boxed up in the basement after the big move. So we’re counting on the ZNF community to share their experiences in the comments.

(Thanks, morac!)

First revealed as the Slingbox 700u at CES back in January, the smallest, sleekest Echostar placeshifter is now available to DISH Network customers for a low $99. And it’s the tight integration with DISH DVR hardware that allows the “Sling Adapter” to shed so much bulk… and cable clutter. Whereas an agnostic Slingbox requires video and network connectivity, along with an IR blaster and power adapter, the Sling Adapter requires a single USB cable to facilitate the broadcast of your television content around the home and beyond. However, Sling Adapter access is currently limited to web browsers on Windows or Mac OS X. Versus all the various options (web, OS X or Windows software, mobile clients) available to Slingbox customers. Lastly, the Sling Adapter only brings placeshifting capabilities to ViP 722 and 722k DISH hardware. Which might be OK as literally millions of these units have been deployed and this model DVR is standard for new customers (at no charge).

The initial reviews:

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More Slingbox iPad App Details

Dave Zatz —  November 16, 2010

We’re still not quite there… but getting closer to the highly anticipated SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad ($30).

As previously discussed, this isn’t an enhanced iPhone Slingbox client – but rather an entirely new app that’s reworked to stream at the more efficient (for Apple devices) H.264. Additionally, I’ve confirmed with Sling Media that the maximum native resolution has been upped to 640×480.

As you can see above or below, the iPad SlingPlayer UI is quite different from what we currently see within the iPhone app. The video perimeter looks like it can get pretty busy with buttons. However, it beats dropping them on top of video content and a simple tap seems to clears them at will. Additionally, unlike what we saw at the iPhone client launch, this iPad app appears to ship with a full complement of aspect ratio toggles. Perhaps it’s heresy, but (on screen sizes these small) I prefer stretching and cropping to black bars. So I’m happy to see them fill the entire 10″ iPad display with video. Lastly, there’s a new EPG for navigating live content.

While the upcoming SlingPlayer iPad app isn’t an Universal build, I’ve learned that Sling’s existing iPhone client will see an upgrade in the near future — delivering some of these iPad features, including both the new guide and H.264 streaming. Which may mean some of you will need to upgrade to current Slingbox hardware (SOLO, PRO-HD) to partake.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad release date and the software hasn’t yet been submitted to the App Store for review. However, Sling intends to do so “in the very near future” once they work through a few lingering items… like what streaming resolution they’ll facilitate over 3G (versus WiFi). In fact, they assure me the app will “definitely” be available this year.

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Believe it or not, I’ve read each of the 22,896 comments (plus countless spam) left here on ZNF. And yesterday we got a great tip in response to the forthcoming iPad Slingplayer… that requires owners of earlier generation Slingbox placeshifters upgrade to the SOLO or PRO-HD. But wait, it’s not just the new iPad Slingbox client that requires newer hardware. It turns out I overlooked that same upgrade tidbit in relation to the new Windows Phone 7 software.

As we’ve previously discussed, I suspect this new line in the sand is both a technological and business decision. Regardless of how we got here, there’s probably a large number of disgruntled Slingbox owners exploring their upgrade options. So this $80 Slingbox SOLO deal from OfficeMax, with free shipping, is probably the best your going to get. In fact, I can’t recall seeing ever seeing new SOLO hardware listed under $110. For comparison purposes, Sling’s own upgrade program prices the SOLO at $130 and Gazelle.com will buy a brand new one from you for $82.

(Thanks, ScaryMike!)

The Slingbox folks sent out an email newsletter yesterday indicating that SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad is “about to launch” and “Almost Here!”

Like other Slingbox mobile clients, whenever it lands, it’ll run $30. And it sounds like they’re finally moving to H.264 for iPad streaming to provide higher resolutions and hopefully a more responsive client – versus their existing iPhone app. Speaking of that original app, it’s not being (immediately?) replaced. And if you own an older Slingbox (Classic, AV, Tuner, PRO), that’s the Apple software you’ll be stuck with. As the new iPad client requires a Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD… in what I presume to be both a technological and business decision. Regardless, I hope the existing iPhone client is eventually replaced so it too will experience more efficient and higher def video playback.

For Sling aficionados, this pre-announcement isn’t exactly a surprise… as the same details were dropped into their forums back on October 5th. Click to enlarge: