Back at CES, EchoStar came clean with their Sling Media acquisition intentions in announcing the “SlingLoaded” platform – part DVR, part Slingbox. The first model is headed to DISH Network as the DISH VIP 922 and now Echo has unveiled digital cable-enabled tru2way SlingLoaded hardware. Unlike the previously demo-ed satellite version, these tru2way devices would house a single multistream CableCARD (M-Card) and feature licensed operator interfaces – Echo has a few on display, including Digeo’s Moxi experience. While Echo could conceivably head direct to retail, I suspect they’re looking for a cable partner to get the SlingLoaded HD DVR out the door. Also, on display was a lone (and lonely) SlingModem. Echo assures me the DOCSIS 2.0 device and cable-modem+Slingbox bundled hardware initiative isn’t dead. We’ll see.
In other Sling news today, EchoStar has drawn the line in the sand. Slingbox Solo, Pro, and Pro-HD models will be the only units capable of running the upcoming iPhone client. Classic, AV, and Tuner owners are out of luck. Having said that, they’ve launched an upgrade program that knocks $50 off the price of new hardware. Which probably still comes in higher than Amazon. I assume Sling wants or needs folks on more capable platforms as they move to H.264 encoding and with Clip+Sling still waiting in the wings.
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