updated 08:25 am EST, Fri January 4, 2008
Slingbox PRO-HD and BB app
Sling Media today revealed its contribution to CES announcements with the Slingbox PRO-HD, a new version of its highest-end media hub. Upgrades to the device now bring a native ATSC/QAM tuner that lets it pick up over-the-air HD broadcasts and other unprotected sources without a separate set-top box; it also becomes one of the first network media hubs to stream 1080i HD video around the home to Macs or PCs running SlingPlayer software. Sling is also removing the cap on image quality for video streams on the wider Internet: a PRO-HD model on a connection with a very high upload speed (such as Verizon's FIOS fiber optic service) can stream out at near-identical quality, the company says.
The PRO-HD still maintains the HDMI input of the original PRO and includes matching inputs and outputs for all its analog connections to let it coexist in a larger home theater setup. Sling expects the PRO-HD to be made available in the spring at $400.
Accompanying the new Slingbox is word that the company is developing SlingPlayer Mobile for the BlackBerry; like other mobile versions, the software will let owners of the smartphone with a 3G or Wi-Fi connection stream a live feed of their TV to their device and offer basic controls over the content. The BlackBerry update will be available sometime in 2008 for $30.