Sling Needs More Cowbell

Dave Zatz —  March 2, 2013
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While the new Slingboxes are here, we can’t help but wonder if there’s room in Sling’s lineup for an additional model. We really do appreciate the (partial) HDMI pass-thru and 802.11n capabilities of the Slingbox 500, but we’re not quite certain it lives up to its $300 price tag… yet. Further down the line, we have the Slingbox 350 which is relatively compact and retains the 1080p streaming capabilities of its big brother for $180.

But what about the placeshifting-curious? Those who either aren’t quite sold or perhaps have only an infrequent need to watch their home television content while on the road. I suspect this is where a sub-$100 streamer would get decent traction. And, believe it or not, Sling already manufactures a potential candidate. The Slingbox 120, which is affectionally referred to as ‘The Cowbell’, probably didn’t wind up in many US homes via an exclusive Verizon Wireless rental option but it did hit store shelves in India. The conversion rate still pegs this standard def Slingbox at about $150, but we’re confident the Echostar-backed Sling could mass produce and peddle something similar on modern hardware, under $100 a pop… for those without the integrated slinging capabilities of a DISH Hopper 2, anyway. And, while they’re at it, let’s further reduce the price of the SlingPlayer mobile client from $14.99 to $9.99 (and produce a universal iOS app).


9 responses to Sling Needs More Cowbell

  1. Could someone suggest an external ATSC tuner that would be compatible with a Slingbox Solo?

  2. I like the new layout – very nice.

  3. I think what they really need is a unit that doesn’t look ridiculous. I would have bought either the 350 or 500 if not for that. Instead, I went with the Belkin @TV which has a much more normal form factor (and it was nice that it’s significantly cheaper).

  4. I have the 350. What looks ridiculous about it? It’s just a rectangular shaped box. Now I agree that the 500 looks funky, but the 350 fits well in a tight space.

  5. I don’t mind the 350, it has done well for me. I do miss having the built in tuner of the ProHD. I haven’t felt the need to upgrade at this point to the 500, although I have checked it out a few times. Debating if it is time to retire one of my Solo’s.

  6. @aaronwt: It looks like a dust trap made from a waffle-maker. No thanks.

  7. I like the low end box idea. To further that point and drive sales likely even further, Sling needs to expand more quickly into connected devices. IF a stream from a sling 120 was able to be viewed on a low end roku, I think it would attract many more people.

    Same thign for gaming consoles. So many people already have these, eliminating another box for one purpose (sling “catching”) would be very attractive.

  8. I had 2 sling boxes, after they died a week or two after the warranty expired I went with the Belkin also. Much better and cheaper and not one dropout in over a year! Slingbox has the worst support and not worth ever giving them another penny again!

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