updated 10:45 am EST, Wed November 26, 2008
Sling Media today officially kicked off the public beta of Sling.com, its new video portal. The website is aimed at competing with sites hosting commercially produced content like Hulu or Joost and primarily syndicates content from about 90 major TV and online producers, including channels Hulu omits such as CBS as well as the very same Fox and NBC content. It also offers a similar range of full-length movies.
Distinctive to the Sling portal is a tie-in with the company's Slingbox devices; owners can link the network streaming hubs to the website and watch live content though a window on the site itself rather than the usual dedicated SlingPlayer app. The feature currently requires a Windows XP or Vista PC using Internet Explorer or Firefox.
Sling's effort represents a greater shift away from dedicated media players and for-pay video towards free web viewing using ads. The efforts let relative newcomers such as Sling offer recognizable video while supporting that content through dynamic commercials that, as with TV, can change over time.