I told you Sling had some unexpected and positive news here at CES. In addition to the upcoming Google TV SlingPlayer functionality, they’ve announced a partnership with Verizon. Not only is it huge accomplishment to broker a deal with a major US carrier, for those of us who remember, it’s also somewhat ironic… As early in Sling’s history, Verizon was the one who said something like three Slingbox customers hitting a single Verizon tower could bring it down. Which, of course, was nonsense. But it gives you a sense of how far Sling has come. And perhaps how far Verizon’s network has come.
While at Sling’s booth, I got a general sense of how this partnership will work. In a few months, as LTE smartphones launch, Verizon will offer a complete Slingbox package to include a new placeshifter, powerline networking gear, and software. I suspect there’ll be some sort of upfront hardware fee or deposit, along with a monthly service charge. I also assume that even though offered through Verizon, the new Slingbox will function identically to existing Slingboxes… and given the mobile focus, I imagine the resolution will be comparable to the 640×480 SOLO (versus PRO-HD hardware).
Engadget managed to snap some pictures of the new Slingbox. And, as you can see, it’s quite small and can be positioned either horizontally vertically. Although it’s not nearly as attractive as DISH Network’s cheese grating Slingbox. Unfortunately, I still haven’t heard of any new retail Sling gear. So I guess it continues to be the SOLO or PRO-HD.
Click to enlarge: