Although the SlingCatcher (MSRP $300) has been prematurely trickling out of various retail locations these last few days, today marks the official launch date of Sling Media’s “universal media player for your TV.”
Given my former relationship with Sling, I’ve had early and continual access to the product. And the most visible change made since CES was blowing up the interface and starting from scratch. Something I fully support. The original UI was extremely unique, but we tried too hard to be clever at the cost of usability and performance. The new design is much cleaner, quicker, and will scale as the Catcher platform evolves.
A brief summary of SlingCatcher functionality:
SlingPlayer for TV Stream and control video from a local or remote Slingbox to the television without a computer in the mix. Caveat: The Catcher is not yet capable of receiving HD video resolutions from the PRO-HD, though it’s in the works.
SlingProjector Project (“screenscrape”) pretty much any audio and video from a Windows PC to the television, full screen or select windows/regions, using a home network. Unlike the two-way ZvBox remote, playback and control are initiated at the computer.
My Media Play a variety of audio and video files from a connected USB hard drive or thumb drive. Windows synchronization and video conversion software is in the works. Detailed file support can be found here (Word doc).
Sling.com While not yet available, the intent is to enable direct web video playback of Sling.com content.
As review units haven’t started shipping to my fellow press and bloggers, I’m keeping the coverage light… But will continue to answer questions in the comments.