Archives For Slingbox

Good news for Slingbox owners contemplating a move to Windows Phone 7, as Sling has announced their intentions to bring placeshifting support to the new mobile platform.

The first SlingPlayer Mobile client was built on Windows Mobile and Sling has largely relied on Microsoft’s Windows Media Video (WMV) technology over the years, so a Windows Phone 7 client shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, one very interesting nugget from the video above is reaffirmation that the current 320×240 max streaming resolution for mobile clients is about to be superseded. Given the processors and screen resolutions found on todays handsets, Sling can surely do better. And I’ve confirmed with the company that the Windows Phone 7 client will natively stream up to 640×480. Although, no details on timing or pricing were revealed.

Now about that iPad app

tivo-premiere-slingbox

Today’s question comes our way from Stephen M:

Has anyone been successful at getting SlingPlayer or SlingPlayerWeb to control a Tivo Premiere? In the player setup, there are no choices for Tivo Premiere or Tivo Series 4.

This should have been a trivial question to answer, even though Sling hasn’t yet published an official virtual remote for the Premiere. Because TiVo’s IR codes and general remote layout are pretty consistent amongst their hardware lineup, classifying the Premiere as a TiVo Series3 or HD for the Slingbox should have handled just about everything other than the four OCAP shortcut buttons. However, after perusing Stephen’s lengthy transcript with Sling Media’s tech support, I realized something was amiss. And, unfortunately, Christina wasn’t able to deviate much from her script to identify that Sling has a problem on their end.

As it turns out, Sling’s online database of IR codes and remote skins has been corrupted or rolled back in some way. Perhaps related to their horribly botched data center migration that resulted in a week or so of downtime for many. Basically, in attempts to set up the AV source via Sling.com as two different TiVo models the remote skins were blanked out and non-functional in several ways/places.

What I did to resolve this problem was to set up the DVR (as a Series 3) in Sling’s stand-alone OS X software client. Once done, I headed back to Sling.com where the remote renders and works properly as seen below.

web-sling-tivo

Continue Reading…

After a somewhat protracted (and public) lead-up, SlingPlayer Mobile for Android will enter the Market late tonight. Priced at the same $29.99 as Sling’s other mobile clients (and maybe 1/3rd too much in the current app environment), SlingPlayer Mobile allows you to stream your home television over 3G or WiFi while on the go with the assistance of a Slingbox. Officially, the Slingbox SOLO, PRO, and PRO-HD are supported… but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some of the older units also get the job done.

Sling Media believes the new Android client provides their most polished mobile experience yet — with quicker app launching and channel changing, along with a refreshed UI. Check out Engadget’s video coverage of a beta build, shot last month, to see for yourself. While Sling wouldn’t give me the streaming resolution and codec details I was looking for, they did suggest video quality would be comparable to the iPhone client. Leading me to believe mobile Slinging still maxes out at 320×240, WMV. Hopefully, we’ll graduate to H.264 and higher resolutions at some point… perhaps divined via confirmation of upcoming iPad support.

Despite what appears to be fragmentation of the Android lanscape, Sling tells me they’ve successfully built and tested the new SlingPlayer on over a dozen handsets. So it’s safe to assume they’ve got the leading candidates (HTC Nexus One, HTC Incredible, HTC EVO, Motorola Droid, etc) covered.

Click to enlarge:

OK, so maybe we can’t ascribe hatred to Hulu, an emotionless corporate entity and online pawn of the studio system. Let’s just say Hulu exhibits something akin to disrespect or disdain and clearly calls the shots as they reach into our homes and devices to decide what web browsing technologies are permissible. They talk about content licensing challenges, and I bet that is the primary factor driving their behavior. However, as content consumers, most of us don’t care on a conceptual level. All we know is that Hulu blocks select, legit web browsing software and hardware from accessing their website. Which potentially makes this a net neutrality issue.

What’s got me spun up (this time) is that while Flash technology is coming to Android, access to the Hulu website will be prohibited. From Engadget and according to Adobe’s CEO (who looks to be in cahoots with Hulu):

Hulu is a legal issue. It’s a great app, we understand the interest, but there’s content licensing issues that prevent it for global or even mobile devices. It’s not something that is a technical issue at all.

I call BS. Regional restrictions are one thing, but excluding my browser of choice because you don’t like my platform is something else entirely. Where will Hulu draw the line? If they work a deal with Apple, will Windows web browsers be blocked? If they work a deal with Sony, will the PS3 be unblocked? The platform should be irrelevant as long the content is presented as intended and not scraped (like the original Boxee implementation).

I’m sure there’s a reasonable middle ground, but wonder if the studio system will find it before their market erodes (or is replaced) – as seen with the music industry. Until then, if this is how TV Everywhere is going play out, I retract my ‘death of roll-your-own placeshifting’ proclamation. And suggest everyone purchase a Slingbox.

Sling Media offers a two part solution for streaming video from your home to an internet-connected PC or mobile phone. First you buy a Slingbox to stick next to your home A/V components (cable box, TiVo, etc), and then you run the SlingPlayer software on a Mac or Windows PC, or a supported smartphone including Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm OS, or Symbian device.

A few months ago we learned that an Android version was in the works, and now it looks like Sling Media has launched a limited beta of SlingPlayer Mobile for Android. The closed beta isn’t available to the general public yet, but a beta tester sent a message to Android news site Phandroid — despite the fact that the message specifically said not to share it. While this could clearly be enough kick this particular tester out of the beta test if he’s discovered, it’s also a good indication that the wait for a full fledged SlingPlayer Mobile client for Android is in the works and hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for a public release.

There’s no word on the final pricing, but SlingPlayer Mobile generally runs about $30 on other platforms.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

SlingCommunity Shutting Down

Dave Zatz —  April 27, 2010

Today marks the end of an era as the SlingCommunity shutters its doors. I assume this isn’t entirely voluntary on their part, given Sling Media’s recently launched Slingbox tech support-oriented forum. In fact, years of SlingCommunity content (215,000 posts) will vanish later today when their URL will begin redirecting all traffic to answers.slingbox.com.

As a very early Slingbox owner and, later, as a Sling Media employee, I have a pretty good handle on Sling’s forum arc.

The Slingbox was a hot topic of discussion on AVS Forum at launch in 2005. It’s where I got to know founder and CEO Blake Krikorian. And convinced him the office workers of the world needed a Windows 2000 client. And they turned one around in 48 hours. As the conversation grew, Sling approached the owners of AVS about cordoning off a dedicated Sling area. But they wouldn’t play ball. In fact, I got the sense they didn’t appreciate the company’s public contributions for whatever reason. So Sling took their cash elsewhere and partnered with Capable Networks, who launched the SlingCommunity. Continue Reading…

DISH VIP 922 Slingbox DVR

380 million dollars and 2.5 years in the making, the world’s first DVR containing Slingbox functionality has arrived. Of course, this is exactly the sort of hybrid product we expected when Echostar acquired Sling Media in 2007. Although it wasn’t actually until CES 2009 that our suspicions were confirmed. And DISH Network’s 2009 launch plans have obviously slipped. Yet, the wait is now over!

In addition to placeshifting capabilities and other remote access functionality, the dual tuner VIP 922 SlingLoaded DVR pairs a brand new and possibly app-alicious UI (see below) with a roomy 1 terabyte drive and powerline networking. Fortunately, Echo/Sling/DISH drew the line there and chose not bundle the horrible prototype touchpad remote control. Not only was it difficult to navigate one handed, like Sezmi, it did away with the number keys.

DISH-VIP-922-VOD

It’s not clear (to me) from DISH’s site what the VIP 922 and service run, but Engadget came across a memo which indicates a MSRP of $695 for the hardware, with leases starting as low as $200 (whatever that means). I don’t have many options as a potential reviewer with an obstructed satellite view. So, like most, I’ll resign myself to waiting for the pro journalists to chime in and and early customer testimonials. But on paper (or LCD), the VIP 922 sure looks hot.