SlingCommunity Shutting Down

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

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.

For many years, it was a vibrant community of Sling customers and Sling employees, managed and nurtured by the appropriately named folks of Capable. Sling Media was a “social media” pioneer before that term even existed. Yet, as the company and customer base grew, along with the sort of organizational changes you’d expect from an $380 million acquisition, employee interaction tapered off. During my tenure at Sling, stewardship of the forum fell under both the Marketing and Support departments. And the two groups didn’t always see eye to eye on purpose or execution. As members of Sling’s ninja marketing team moved on and weren’t replaced, it appears the support unit acted on their plans to create a dedicated support forum, tied to Sling Accounts and device registration, as proposed back in 2008.

Given my history with the forum and appreciation of open, online communication, I’m disappointed Sling Media couldn’t come up with a more holistic solution that includes customer-to-customer and employee-to-customer dialog beyond tech support. On the other hand, without regular employee contributions, the Sling Community had begun to devolve into a massive bitch session — with frequent topics of conversation dedicated to Sling’s (or is it EchoStar’s?) $30 telephone support fee, non-timely mobile client updates, and SlingStream performance degradation with each successive firmware release.

I’m sad to see Sling Community go (and hope Capable was compensated), although I’m not at all surprised. What does surprise me is each day that passes in which EchoStar allows Sling Media to exist as an independent entity. Because the era of roll-your-own placeshifting is (was?) merely a transition on the path to TV Everywhere.

27 thoughts on “SlingCommunity Shutting Down”

  1. To be clear, Sling Community was an independent entity owned and operated by Capable Networks.

    On a personal note, Capable Networks was a great partner during my tenure. (Other than a few inflammatory linkbait articles by an overzealous moderator who wasn’t aware of the corporate dynamics.) I highly enjoyed working closely with Matt Whitlock, the editor/manager of SC. He’s a good dude even if he can’t run with me on CoD, MW2. ;)

  2. Wow, had no idea. Having been a participant there for at LEAST 4+ years I can say, it was a great resource for FINDING SOLUTIONS, and alternative setups which were NOT a strength of the previous sling customer support areas. As well, it was a great area to share stories of unusual uses for the slingboxes, ways to optimize and reviews of infrastructure and solutions to better enable a slingbox to participate in a homeLAN/WAN environment without impacting the performance of more recent technologies like VOIP, media streaming, home servers, etc.

    While ANY open discussion forum CAN turn in to a “biotch session” for some members (I mean, in ANY forum many people head there when they have a PROBLEM and look for answers – some times not FINDING the answer they want/expect) I would say that the community did a pretty good job of policeing itself.

    I had thought that it was pretty seperate from sling for the past few years at least, and really hope that whatever sling support function takes over the helm, will incorporate the legacy solutions data into some form of knowledge base.

    AND, there are so many great reviews done by participants that I would really like to see kept somewhere.

  3. If it helps any, you or whomever can start a new Twitter account, or a new Get Satisfaction account, and go “rouge”.

    While I had a TiVo back in the good old days ( 2001, when it actually was a useful device, and before “life time” meant “12 months” ) I never made use of the forum, but I consider this part of a new, disturbing, trend…

    Now that corporations have been given “citizenship” they take that as their cue to blow off the Consumer.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Dave. I really enjoyed working with you at the time, and I’ve subsequently enjoyed our friendship ever since.

    I guess we’ll never ‘really’ know for sure who’s king of MW2. Since you sold your copy, I win by default! ;-)

  5. So Dave, who owns the content in all of those posts? Maybe you should try to acquire them? Or David Bott?

  6. Ted, I would imagine Capable owns the content. However, I also imagine they have some sort of non-compete settlement with Echo/Sling that prohibits them from leaving most of it online and is part of the whole URL redirect dealio. Hopefully, a number of the more significant tutorials and reviews will be preserved and put back online somewhere at some time.

    It did occur to me to launch a new “community” … as the new support forum is not that. And some of the former moderators are banding up to try their hand at that. But I’m not sure the SC database of historical content would be for sale or what one could do with it.

    Also, it has significantly less value now that the URL is going away. All the incoming links and Google juice will be lost, probably forever.

  7. I had no idea that slingcommunity was affiliated with sling itself. Thanks for the background information.

    I agree that they’re losing a valuable resource in dropping the open forum, but as you noted in the article, it had largely degraded to a very negative environment due to the lack of sling’s involvement and, frankly, their glacially slow development pace and aggressive pricing.

  8. I have 6 Forum Threads and 95 Comments in 51 Discussion Threads…

    I am trusting that you will continue giving us some of the good inside stuff.

    Can you explain what you meant by “surprise me is …. EchoStar allows Sling Media to exist as an independent entity….the era of roll-your-own placeshifting is (was?) merely a transition on the path to TV Everywhere”. Are you expecting them to shut down slingmedia/retail, both?

  9. I think he’s saying that placeshifting appliances is a business with an expiration date as that base functionality will either be built-in to your set-top box or (eventually) totally obsolete as all media will be streamed from the internet ala netflix anyway.

  10. Itay2, nothing based on insider info. Just my perception of the state of the industry (as Rodalpho stated) and related assumption of slow sales. Given that, along with their increased focus on integrated satellite/cable solutions, yes, I’m surprised to see the retail operation continue.

  11. I already bought an extra slingcatcher in case my existing one dies, I guess I should also go for a pro HD as well.

  12. I wounder how Krikorian feels about all of this. I cannot blame him for selling the company (amazing exit), but seeing your baby stops growing and possibly dying is not easy.

  13. “I think [Dave is] saying that placeshifting appliances is a business with an expiration date as that base functionality will either be built-in to your set-top box or (eventually) totally obsolete as all media will be streamed from the internet ala netflix anyway.” – Rodalpho

    Whoa. Dave is saying that?

    If that future scenario were true, it’d be awesome, but no way are the MPAA/ISP/Cable Sith lords ever gonna go for hat – would they?

  14. They may well block it from set-top boxes (although I betcha dish, at&t, and verizon boxes have it sooner or later) but the move to online streaming is basically manifest destiny at this point.

    Comcast and TWC have tv everywhere, the networks have their own sites, netflix instant queue, and hulu, and the few holdouts are on bittorrent anyway. All that content will make it to your TV on appliances like the popbox and boxee box to start, but soon enough they’ll all be built into your blu-ray player and even TV. They’ll be ubiquitous.

  15. The problem is that tv anywhere, usually means anywhere in the U.S….. which means bye bye for expats

  16. Artificial geographic restrictions are easy enough to bypass. Everybody outside of the US currently gets their media from bittorrent anyway, so the owners don’t make any money at all. It’s in their best interests to open them out. Not that they often listen to reason.

  17. I simply cannot believe that my 782 posts in 310 threads is MORE than DaveZ? Wuh? has there begun a FIFO deletion on posts or something.


    I sure wish we could capture all the content in some DB for future queries.

  18. Brandon had it..

    o member since: 12/02/2005
    o rank: 4 of 46637
    o location: Mooresville, NC, United States
    o 46 forum threads started
    o 5288 comments

    Wow, avg of over 3 posts per day for over 4 years..

  19. Sure. More fun stats!

    The top 50 members in terms of site rank (a combination of many, many factors) were:

    Alan Richey
    Brandon C
    Phil Pham
    Sharon R.
    Full Score
    Sgt Rock
    Sean McPartlin
    Joe in Dallas
    Dave Zatz

    I’ve excluded myself, SlingCommunity News (also me), SlingCommunity Team (me again), and any other Capable employee.

    As far as number of comments…

    The Gold Medal: ryandh at 5292 comments total. Wow!
    Taking Silver: Brandon C. at 4241.
    Bronze: NA9D at 3713.

  20. Hey, I’m on that list. For someone that was scratching his head more times about sling technology than he would care to mention and who mostly passed on answers that were given to me by the moderators; I actually made the list of contributors…..although in my case contributor is rather overstated.

  21. Gutted for Matt, Brandon and Ryan. They did such a cool job and worked so hard!!..

    Hope something is worked out…

  22. I had no idea I made the top 50 list, since my contribution was really small. I hope there will be another spot for the slingers to continue on. I hope Echo* won’t one day decide to pull the plug on the sling accounts/finder id service and render our boxes into paper weights.

  23. Sling Community was a great tool in all things Sling plus a whole lot more…. I am interesed in revisiting Echo/Slings decision to slam down the shutters and ask some questions about what the future holds now for Sling products.

    My guess is that Echo will shutter the whole hardware side of Sling eventualy now that they own the sling technology to embed in a STB of their own spec. Keep the code wizards and ditch the rest.

    Is the Slingbox and its cousins headed for the scrap heap.? Slingcatcher is headed in that direction, if not already. Definitely a space to watch.

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