The SlingCatcher Fire Sale


Less than a year on the market, the SlingCatcher‘s entrance fee has dropped more than 50% from retail launch pricing of $300 down to a rock bottom $130. I can only assume sales are horrible. Which pains me on personal level. The digital media Swiss Army knife vision of the SlingCatcher was a factor in my joining Sling Media way back when. And the execution of that vision was also a factor in my decision to leave. (“losing my religion“) However, despite it’s imperfections and unfulfilled promise, $130 to merely stream from a Slingbox to another television in the home or abroad is a great value – neverminding those hobbled extender and DMA capabilities. (Performance/functionality firmware updates have been trickling out.) Here’s hoping this “sale” also foreshadows a new SlingCathcer in the pipeline with the sort of chipset the upcoming Popcorn Hour C-200 utilizes. But with Sling’s corporate ownership and industry-wide weakened retail sales, I wouldn’t count on it.

17 thoughts on “The SlingCatcher Fire Sale”

  1. I should add the product side was only one of several reasons why I moved on. Another big blow for me was the departure of Marketing VP Rich Buchanan (now with Ooma) – I have great respect for him, enjoyed working for and learning from. Also, he’s been in this industry a long time and I took his departure as a sign. Additionally, Charlie Ergen’s (EchoStar/DISH) HR and travel policies that we inherited may be good for the bottom line, but they’re absolutely antiquated when trying to attract and retain top talent. Lastly, Dash Navigation came calling. They had a compelling, audacious vision which I bought into. (Unfortunately, that decision didn’t work out so well for me when they let like 3/4ths of the company go and exited the hardware business ~5 months after I joined.)

  2. Under performing sales of the SlingCatcher is Sling’s own fault – got everyone’s attention with the vaporware product announcement, then took two years to be available to the public. Sling needs to learn from the movie studios on how to build hype before a release and have a big “opening day”.

    Zero Slingcatcher integration with the nearly useless would be my guess they every the “pre-alpha early adopter” crown treats the SlingCatcher as a pariah.

    “…Here’s hoping this “sale” also foreshadows a new SlingCathcer in the pipeline…”

    Leaving to rot on the vine and releasing a second gen Sling Catcher will yield the same results.

  3. A Slingbox Solo and a SlingCatcher would be awesome for my bedroom, but a $310 price tag on that is a bit steep for me. Yes, it is a one time fee, but I can’t see myself throwing that down just to send my TiVo HD signal upstairs to the bedroom. I don’t travel all that often so the benefit of seeing my TiVo while on the road just isn’t there for me. This would be one of those products that would be awesome to have, but I can live without.

  4. Wow, that is a great price and even on the SLING site as is. So, 3rd party vendors might be lower next week.

    I just had a great experience while in HI with my catcher, hooked up via a linksys travel router, to the hotel wifi network. The catcher video quality was BETTER than the quality of the cable in the hotel room.

    We had access to all our content (as is the intention) via a nice remote, from the relaxation of the bed or living room in the suite and could watch DVR’d French Open and Formula 1 at our leisure.

    We watched the nightly news from home, even news, whatever of course. The quality was excellent, the buffering worked fine, even trick play FF/RW worked excellent and the quality was top notch using all the 700kps I could spare from the home.

    We watched some ripped DVD’s from my external drive and old movies (you’re wondering why we did this, I broked my leg on the third day while there!)

    I love the catcher, wish it was smaller, but simply cannot imagine it going anywhere.

    MAAAYBE, there is going to be a pocket catcher?

  5. here is one I can be positive on – set my Brother-in-Law up with a sling box in my house and Slingcatcher for him in Switzerland (he paid of course ;)) works like a charm from my original 240 TiVo DVR with lifetime on it. So it has its uses but I think Sling did indeed come in on the wrong end of the value point with the catcher for what it does. It might have done well at 300$ if it was small, portable and had a battery optional for polaces like a VAn on trips to show video from a USB drive.

    one other small hassle – there is no easy way to throttle the slingbox serving up to a catcher and it uses twice the bandwidth of the PC applet.

  6. Interesting how the other day I was in a Best Buy and they still had the SlingCatcher for $300! *ACK!*

    Anyhow, this was certainly the most promising product with the biggest let down factor. The streaming from a Slingbox part is great and works well. The rest of the media functions – don’t get met started. Sling really needs to come out with a new box that is truly integrated with and truly lives up to its potential. Sadly, I think Charlie Company is only interested in producing set top boxes with Slingbox engines inside.

  7. The SlingCatcher should’ve been canceled before shipping – and a second gen box developed and launched. I thought launching the product as it was was a bad idea, especially with the insane $300 launch price. Of course I worked there at the time so I had to keep my mouth shut in public, so I tried to avoid talking about the SC.

    The real problem is that the product was delayed two years – but in that time it wasn’t re-engineered, what launched was pretty much a two year old box, and in CE terms that’s ancient. In those two years media extenders had gotten FAR more advanced and the SC just didn’t measure up anymore.

    I think a $99 box like the Roku that just handled Slingbox streaming and streamed content from would be a better product. Any additional media support, like streaming from a PC, displaying photos, etc, would be a nice addition.

    But the best solution would be finding ways to get SlingPlayer for TV on existing products – like the Roku box and other media extenders.

  8. zeotivo.

    you should be able to throttle the slingcatcher at your router, if not, you could upgrade it maybe? The units themselves don’t have any throttling built in of course

  9. I helped beta-test this product and worked with many of the people who posted above.

    In the end, I was sad the way the whole thing was handled. So much promise, but MZ is dead on. If Sling would have just pushed a SlingPlayer for TV and player at 99-150 price point it would probably sold like hot cakes. But it seemed like Sling is having an internal struggle on what the product was. I felt bad for some of the Sling employee’s who were put in a unfair position while the company really bumbled their way through it. $130 is still a great price.

    Without sounding too harsh, this was just another disappointment, in a growing list of disappointments from Sling.

  10. I use one of my catchers almost everday at my office. We set it up to watch TV (mostly sports) while at work. The cost of running cable to the office was crazy. I really enjoy my catcher, but having 5 diff Sling products I can see the issues with it. Hopefully as Dave mentioned Dish keeps everything going and doesn’t turn it into a product just for Dish customers.

    BTW, Mega I do miss your updates when you were at Sling, I think you really got “wronged” when they let you go.

  11. The Sling Catcher lets me watch my Tivo HD in my workout room, but can’t even connect to my EX485 Windows Home Server to allow access to all of my other content (which would let me retire my Squeezebox).

    I am not optimistic about a 2nd gen Slingcatcher. When something else comes out that can fully replace my Slingbox/Catcher combination and also has an HD player for my Macs I will make the move.

    Right now, sadly, there’s no real competition in this niche area and Echostar seems to be in the process of exiting this once great marget segment.

  12. Success or not, thanks for the coupon code for the Slingcatcher. I was on the verge of spending $174 at Amazon and, even with shipping and tax, you saved me at least $25.

  13. Anyone seen the price of these things lately? they are going for 400+ on ebay! I’m selling maybe 2-3 of the six I bought in the fire sales!

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