updated 12:00 am EST, Mon January 7, 2008
Sling Media very early Monday heated up the challengers to the Apple TV and other media hubs with a finalized announcement of the SlingCatcher, its first device designed to bring computer content to a TV. Using a feature named SlingProjector, the device can output any video on a computer to a TV -- including web video or even video from a Slingbox accessed from the Internet, says the company. A USB connection lets it manually load video or else provides an 802.11g Wi-Fi connection as an alternative to the built-in Ethernet jack. The long-delayed SlingCatcher now has a formal release window and should ship in the spring for $250.
The SlingCatcher comes in tandem with a new version 2.0 of its essential SlingPlayer software: the revision adds Clip+Sling options of grabbing highlights from live TV and sharing them with others on the web. The second version of SlingPlayer also brings an electronic program guide and a healthier one-hour video buffer, and should be available for free before the end of March to anyone with a Slingbox.
Sling is finishing the announcements with its now confirmed SlingModem. The device adds Slingbox functionality to a cable modem, saving users the trouble of buying two separate devices. Details are short, though releases are expected to vary by cable providers in the US and elsewhere.