What’s Next for SlingPlayer Mobile? (iPad!)

I recently checked in with my former Sling peeps, regarding mobile clients. Specifically, codecs and resolution. As we know, a Slingbox Android client is on tap this summer. And I wondered if they’re sticking with WMV video streaming or moving to H.264 for this platform. While I wasn’t able to get a definitive answer on Android from Mobile Product Marketing Manager, Dave Eyler, I have learned they’re “actively moving towards H.264” – which requires the newer, more capable placeshifters (think SOLO or PRO-HD). Also, it’s really no surprise that they’ll be going the Silverlight route for Windows Phone 7.

In regards to resolution, I don’t don’t believe Sling Media has taken mobile client video resolutions beyond 320×240. By design, due to processing power, memory, bandwidth and battery life. But, here comes the iPad. And I don’t want a pixel-doubled iPhone SlingPlayer app on that large screen. Fortunately, Sling has confirmed they’re prepared to accommodate me with something a bit better, some day…

When it makes a noticeable difference in quality, we will definitely provide higher resolution streaming.  The iPad is a good example of a device where we are hard at work on this, but unfortunately it won’t be there at the April launch.

11 thoughts on “What’s Next for SlingPlayer Mobile? (iPad!)”

  1. You have Sling peeps? I’m jealous. :-) No matter how often we cover what they’re up to, no one there has deigned to respond to my inquiries since MZ left. They seem to have forgotten how to talk to the outside world.

  2. Dave do you know if this will be a free upgrade to the existing app or will I have to fork over more cash? I mention this because the current app cost more than any other app I purchased (possibly more than all the others I purchased combined).

  3. I’d like a higher quality SlingPlayer Mobile app for the iPhone.

    It makes no sense that video podCasts and even YouTube videos look better and run smoother than Slinged video (over both 3G and WiFi).

    Sling needs to switch to H.264 since obviously the WMV implementation isn’t up to par. Right now their iPhone app advertises both high quality video and 30 fps. It provides neither (at least not with the Pro-HD).


  4. gear, I didn’t get into that with the team. Like most companies, they’re reluctant to talk much about future stuff. They could do something like Instapaper and make sort of a “universal” dual mode app (iPhone/iPad), or they could conceivably launch a second iPad-specific app. We shall see…

    morac,the iPhone app would run probably better if using H.264 instead of shoehorning a custom WMV decoder. But I’m not sure that codec is innately better or worse than WMV. However, the platform doesn’t natively support it like H.264.

  5. @Dave, h.264 is a slight enhancement at best vs. VC-1 encoding. I wouldn’t expect to see a big improvement when they switch really. Probably you wouldn’t notice the difference. Both are similar generationally, and both are much better than MPEG-2. Agreed, the switch would have more to do with compatibility than anything else.

  6. Morac, keep in mind that video podcasts and YouTube videos are carefully encoded for minimum bandwidth and maximum quality, behind the scenes, on expensive high-powered servers, before the videos are available for download or streaming. Encoding them often takes longer than the length of the video itself. By contrast, SlingPlayer is showing you a video that’s being encoded in realtime, by a very inexpensive piece of consumer electronics equipment in your house, as it’s being flung across the Internet to your phone, which might have an imperfect connection.

  7. @MHA, That’s true, but considering that the Pro-HD can Sling very good looking HD video around my house to my PC via WiFi, I would assume that it could Sling good looking VGA (or QVGA) video to an iPhone via WiFi.

    I’ll note that when using an iPhone (or Touch) in my house, the video is not streamed over the Internet. It’s limited to less than 500 kbps though because anything more is apparently too much for the SlingPlayer mobile’s software decoder.

  8. I also have a VIP 922 and it’s working fine for me with both my iPhone and iPad both at home over wifi and over 3G.

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