Blockbuster On Demand comes to Slingbox 500
Sling Media has introduced several new features for its mobile apps and set-top boxes. A firmware update for the Slingbox 500 brings support for Blockbuster On Demand content, including trailers and movie rentals. Users can also access their photos and videos stored on an attached USB drive.
First new models in three years released
Sling Media has rolled out the Slingbox 500 and Slingbox 350, two completely redesigned retail Slingbox products that provide live streaming of television, sporting events, recorded programming and premium content to smartphones, tablets, laptops and connected devices. In addition, the Slingbox 500 introduces new features, including Wi-Fi and HDMI, as well as a platform for delivering personal content to the TV.
Broadcom makes deal with SlingBox, Myriad
Chipmaker Broadcom has made a few significant deals this week, partnering with Sling Media for its EchoStar set-top technology and with Myriad for the Alien Vue solution. The deals could result in a Broadcom system-on-chip that may allow set-top boxes for TVs that run Android apps and aren't limited to home Wi-Fi networks. Thus far, only Dish Network allows place-shifting in Sling's Slingbox set-tops.
Sling Media outs web app for Logitech Revue
Sling Media has finally released a web app that allows Logitech Revue Google TV users to access its Slingbox service. We sampled the feature nearly one year ago at CES, and a beta showed up late in May that allowed users to watch Slingbox content in other rooms via streaming. Users can access the SlingPlayer app from Google Spotlight and use it to change channels, browse the program guide, and watch or schedule recordings on a connected DVR.
Boxee Box adds SlingPlayer remote TV streaming
The Boxee Box got an unusual feature addition Tuesday after the Boxee team added a SlingPlayer app. Its media hub can now stream and remotely control devices hooked up to a Slingbox Pro-HD or Solo, such as a cable DVR or even another networked media hub. It carries Sling's latest program guide but should otherwise be familiar to those who've used one of the larger-screened SlingPlayer apps.
SlingPlayer previews Facebook app
Sling Media has quietly shown off the first web-based version of SlingPlayer. Its upcoming Facebook app will let viewers tune into one or more Slingboxes to watch and control a TV set-top box, media player, or other devices that the Slingbox can control. As in the native mobile and desktop apps, viewers can bring up a virtual remote or take the video full screen.
Separate apps for Android phones and tablets
Sling Media has released a new version of its SlingPlayer Mobile for Android. When connected by 3G or Wi-Fi to a Slingbox SOLO or Slingbox PRO-HD, the app enables the device to function as a remote and to stream content from the Slingbox. Streaming in High Quality mode from a Slingbox PRO-HD requires at least 600 kbps of bandwidth. The Slingbox SOLO requires 800 kbps to stream HQ video. Separate versions are required for Android tablets ($30, Market) and phones ($30, Market).
Time Warner Cable subsidizes $300 Slingbox
Cable and Internet provider Time Warner Cable said on Tuesday it will subsidize the purchase of the Slingbox Pro-HD set-top boxes to lets subscribers stream their home TV online. The $300 discount on the device, its full price, will only apply to those with TWC's $99-per-month Wideband Internet Service. The move could be seen as controversial by cable programmers, who recently argue distributors need to pay them more for offering their content through channels other than cable TV.
Upgrade kept some customers from streaming media
A recent software update may have disrupted Slingbox service to some of its Pro-HD customers. Engadget reports that a software update pushed down to Slingbox subscribers actually may have caused the box to appear not to be ready to stream. Slingbox has acknowledged the problem in its Answers Forum.
Beta program for SlingBox Solo or PRO-HD
Sling Media has previewed an upcoming beta program that will enable SlingPlayer functionality on Google TV devices. Like the SlingPlayer utilities for computers, smartphones and tablets, the Google TV offering will enable users to stream live television from a Slingbox set-top box. The company has maintained a UI similar to the mobile offerings, with full controls for channel browsing and DVR playback.
R2 for Android does Crestron home automation
Slingbox creator Blake Kirkorian has now created Android-based software for use in home automation. Called R2 ($99, Market), it can control lights, home theater components, thermostats, sprinklers and other hardware connected to a Crestron home automation system. The R2 is not just an app for Android tablets or handsets, but can also run Crestron projects for iOS tablets and phones so it's more of an a platform and an app. It can therefore replace Crestron's remote control units and gives owners the ability to control their systems from far away places.
Time Warner TWCable TV iPad app hit by demand
Time Warner Cable gave the first clues that that live iPad TV streaming was in hot demand on Wednesday with word that its TWCable TV app had been overcome by demand. The app was popular enough late Tuesday that customers couldn't use the authentication system. The cable giant hoped to offset the load by temporarily cutting back the number of channels from 30 to 15 until it was ready to handle the load.
SlingPlayer iPad, iPhone apps can output video
The existing SlingPlayer iPad and iPhone app has now been updated to allow outputting video to an external screen through component cables. The move effectively turns Apple's devices into Slingbox adapters for TVs away from home. Both the SlingPlayer Mobile 2.1 for iPhone (App Store) and SlingPlayer Mobile 1.1 for iPad (App Store) are now available, with either priced at $30.
Monsoon Vulkano Blast launches post-CES
Monsoon on Tuesday updated its Vulkano media hubs with new models it had already previewed at CES. The Blast can now stream video up to 1080i and has a built-in, 160GB hard drive that can store media and serve as a DVR for unencrypted TV without needing an external drive. Many existing features carry over, including YouTube streaming, local network media sharing over 802.11n Wi-Fi or Ethernet and remote playback from either a free desktop app or $10 iOS, BlackBerry and Android mobile apps.
SlingPlayer Mobile 2.0 brings HQ streams, more
Sling today updated the SlingPlayer Mobile app for the iPhone and iPod touch to version 2.0 ($30, App Store). The revamp brings with it many improvements, some carried over from the recently launched iPad version, such as the new programming guide, but most notably include the ability to stream high quality video from their Slingbox Solo or Slingbox Pro-HD devices. The option to stream high-quality audio requires a fast (800Kbps) Wi-Fi connection or 500Kbps when on 3G.
Dish live TV viewing app reaches iPad
Dish Network today formally launched a new version of its Remote Access app for the iPad (free, App Store) to enable the promised live TV viewing option. Those with either the Sling Adapter on a ViP 722 series DVR or a ViP 922 Slingloaded DVR can watch their satellite TV from any high speed Internet connection, including on a sufficiently fast 3G link. Dish didn't mention what quality it would be, although standard definition is more likely.
Sling Adapter launches with iOS, Android apps
Sling today rolled out the Sling Adapter as both one of its lowest cost TV streamers and its first dedicated to its partner Dish. Running solely through its USB connection, it shares the TV from any ViP 722 or 722k DVR over either a web browser or a mobile app. Viewers can steer the DVR alongside controlling channels.
SlingPlayer for iPad priced and demonstrated
Sling has hinted that its long promised SlingPlayer for iPad was about to launch and provided a demo video (below) of the app. The streamer has higher quality video than any of Sling's other apps and makes use of the extra display real estate to provide a large channel guide and an on-screen number pad that still shows most of the picture underneath when up. Much of the interface can avoid intruding into the view.
App accesses set-top box features
Sling Media has announced that its SlingPlayer Mobile app will officially launch for Android devices on Tuesday. The utility will allow users to remotely access their Slingbox set-top box via 3G or Wi-Fi networks.
Sling teases new features in Android remote app
Sling provided a treat to Android phone owners waiting for SlingPlayer for Android through a demo clip of the remote video streaming app on an Evo 4G. The new version is improved on those for other phones and starts much faster than others; the live stream from a home Slingbox starts in just a few seconds. While the interface is familiar, a new number pad makes it quicker to reach a particular channel when steering a set-top TV box.
Sling plans larger-res video for Apple tablet
SlingPlayer marketing manager Dave Eyler today confirmed that his company is working on a version of SlingPlayer for the iPad. The app should be a visible upgrade from the iPhone version as it will carry higher-resolution streaming from a TV-attached Slingbox. Any other changes weren't mentioned, but Eyler told ZNF that the finished version wouldn't be ready for the Saturday iPad launch.
SlingPlayer coming to Android phones this summer
A job posting from last October that pointed to a SlingPlayer app for Android has had its results confirmed, as Sling Media has demonstrated the app. The new version is due this summer and will, like other versions, allow users to stream video content from a Slingbox over either 3G data networks or a handset's Wi-Fi. Its interface will mimic that of the iPhone version, letting users select the live or recorded content they want to watch.
Nazomi says Kindle, Zune violate patents
California-based Nazomi late yesterday sued several tech firms, including Amazon, Microsoft and Nokia, for allegedly violating patents it owns on translating Java code to specific devices. Filed in a Los Angeles court, the lawsuit complains that the three main firms as well as Garmin, Iomega, Sling, Vizio and Western Digital all have devices that supposedly copy its techniques. These include the Kindle and Zune as well as less common devices like the Slingbox or Nokia's tablet computers.
Sling says AT&T optimization claim misleading
Sling Media on Friday corrected AT&T's position on the clearance to ship a 3G-capable SlingPlayer for iPhone. While AT&T characterized the remote TV streaming app as "optimized," the Slingbox creator company's John Santoro told Ars Technica that Sling "didn't change anything" in its 3G code, or enter discussions, to satisfy AT&T's demands. The app has always had dynamic bitrate changes to match available bandwidth.
AT&T says optimized Sling OK for 3G network
AT&T on Thursday greenlit the use of SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone on its 3G network. The carrier now claims that it has tested the app since mid-December and believes it can run without consuming too much bandwidth. The software is described as "optimized," but it's not clear whether Sling has had to change code to fit AT&T's guidelines.
Spawn shipping HD-720 gaming console hub
Spawn Labs has made good on promises to ship its HD-720 gaming hub. The device allows users to play their Xbox 360, Xbox, PS3, PS2 or GameCube games even while away from home. It connects to the consoles via A/V and a USB cable, as well as a broadband network via an Ethernet cable. The device is similar to how Slingbox works, but has two-way communication and allows for playing games in real-time. It should also let friends play a two-player game using the same console from their house that could be in another state or country.
Interface redesigned for finger navigation
Sling Media has introduced an update to its Sling Player Mobile utility for smartphones running Windows Mobile. Version 2.0 brings a revamped interface, with design elements that are geared for navigation with fingers rather than a stylus. While the iPhone app is limited to streaming content over Wi-Fi, the Windows Mobile version enables users to view television across either Wi-Fi or 3G connections.
Sling Touch Control, Monitor, Receiver, more
Sling today caught up to its absence from the remote streaming world with four new devices. Unique among these is the Touch Control 100; the handheld serves as a 4.3-inch touchscreen remote to steer DVRs and Slingboxes either through infrared or through the local network with Wi-Fi. When linked to a DVR, it can show a cable or satellite provider's programming guide and use that for picking channels.
Sling hints new Slingbox, possible remote
Sling in an invitation today alluded to a expanding strategy for its media hubs to be shown at CES. Besides likely new Slingbox devices, the company says it will have a "next-generation touch screen device" at the trade show. It's not evident if this will constitute an entirely self-contained product or a companion, such as a remote.
Service allows remote gaming on home consoles
The fledgling startup Spawn Labs has launched a new device that allows users to play their gaming console from remote locations. The service works in a similar way to Slingbox, but with two-way communication for playing games in real-time. The remote capabilities also expand options for multi-player games, enabling friends to compete on the same device but from miles away.
SlingPlayer vs U-verse Rum
AT&T's decision to disallow 3G for the iPhone edition of SlingPlayer may have been motivated as much by desires to quash a competitor as it is to avoid congestion, a claim suggests. Although AT&T's official explanation is that streaming TV consumes too much bandwidth, a tip from Gizmodo purports that the carrier has the ulterior motive of crippling SlingPlayer to protect a future U-verse app. Supposedly called i-Verse, it would let subscribers to AT&T's IPTV service either stream live TV over the 3G network or else play shows already recorded on the DVR.
SlingPlayer app without 3G
Apple will publish the SlingPlayer iPhone app within the next 24 hours, but without any form of 3G support, developer Sling Media is said to have confirmed. The software is designed as extension of the company's Slingbox hardware, which broadcasts TV from a person's home to a remote Internet destination. Using SlingPlayer, people should be able to view streams, change channels and control DVR units.
ATT Anti-Sling TOS Returns
AT&T on Wednesday quietly updated its cellphone terms of service to again potentially ban devices like the Slingbox on its network. Having initially pulled earlier changes in what was described as "an error," the carrier has again modified the terms to specifically prevent "redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers." It's not evident whether the phrasing refers to any PC-like device, which could include smartphones, or if it only involves using 3G for the outgoing connection.
SlingPlayer not approved
Sling Media’s SlingPlayer app for the iPhone has been denied approval into Apple’s App Store, according to an unconfirmed tip from a source close to Apple’s approval processes. Although the program was described as an "impressive" application, the tip said that the media application was not approved due to pressure from AT&T executives concerned about effect of the app on the already-strained AT&T cellular network. According to the tip, which could not be confirmed Wednesday night, Apple executives went around the normal approval process to deny approval for the SlingPlayer app to appease AT&T.
D-Link PowerLine HD Kit
D-Link this morning started shipping its PowerLine HD Ethernet Adapter Starter Kit. The bundle creates the equivalent to an Ethernet connection between a router and a device and stands out for its bandwidth: at 200Mbps in peak conditions, the kit has twice as much room as basic Ethernet and should reliably stream HD video over a local network. D-Link sees the adapters as ideal for game console and Slingbox owners who might need a fast connection but for whom Wi-Fi either isn't reliable or quick.
EchoStar T2200S settop DVR
EchoStar has introduced the T2200S, a cable version of its SlingLoaded DVR that was designed to work with Dish Network. The new device is compatible with any Tru2way cable system and provides standard DVR features in addition to integrated Slingbox functionality. The box features a 1TB hard drive, dual-tuner and Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) support, a built-in DOCSIS cable modem and a SlingGuide search engine.
SlingPlayer Mobile now out
BlackBerry users in the US can now download the full build of the SlingPlayer Mobile application for their handsets, Sling Media announced recently. The full version follows on the heels of the beta build, which was first released back in December. As expected, there are some new features in the full build, including the ability to add or edit paired Slingboxes and Channel Favorites via the program instead of just SlingPlayer 2.0 for Windows.
Sling Media loses execs
Several founders and top executives at Sling Media are parting ways with the company, following plans originally established in 2007 when the company was acquired by EchoStar for $380 million, according to paidContent.org. Brothers Blake and Jason Krikorian will depart, leaving their positions as CEO and SVP of business development, respectively. Jason Hirschhorn and Ben White will leave vacancies for president and chief creative officer of the Sling Media Entertainment Group, while the VP of sales, Greg Wilkes, will also seek other opportunities.
Sling iPhone client
EchoStar's Sling Media on Tuesday announced it will demo a version of SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone at the Expo and will deliver a version of SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone to Apple for certification in Q1. Sling Media also unveiled a prototype of a new SlingPlayer for Mac HD which allows Slingbox PRO-HD users to stream HD to their Mac desktop or laptop computer. The new SlingPlayer for Mac HD is a web-based version of the SlingPlayer software that will be accessible from Sling.com, Sling Media's recently launched video entertainment web site.
SlingPlayer BBerry Beta
Sling on Thursday revealed the imminent launch of a public beta for SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry. The app lets BlackBerries with 3G or Wi-Fi stream the video from a Slingbox at home and lets the user remote control any source that supports input from the streaming hub. The feature is meant to help commuters catch TV shows they might miss but also lets users access on-demand content from devices like the Apple TV or TiVos.
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.
Slingbox Pro-HD Ships
Sling this morning began shipping its long-promised Slingbox Pro-HD, the company's first true HD streaming device. The device carries its own ATSC and ClearQAM hybrid tuner and will pick up either 720p or 1080i TV from cable, satellite and over-the-air broadcasts that can be shared either at home or online; on the local network, computers can watch and control the TV feed at its native resolution. Dual component video connections also help the Slingbox receive HD without disrupting other devices that might need the signal.
New Sling Media pre-orders
Amazon.com has posted pre-orders for two upcoming pieces of hardware, the SlingCatcher and the Slingbox PRO-HD. The former, priced at $300, is designed to bring media to a TV without a computer or extended cable, and sources from a USB drive, a monitor, or a Slingbox feed. No release date has been set, but the timing of the pre-order suggests a release later this fall.
Sling Mobile for iPhone
Sling Media today made official that it has been developing a version of its SlingPlayer Mobile software for the Apple iPhone. The software is described as a "proof of concept" developed using jailbroken iPhones but offers much of the same functionality as the released applications for Symbian S60, Windows Mobile, and other cellphone platforms. Users can navigate a Slingbox network streaming hub connected to a home TV feed and choose channels through a visual guide as well as stop or skip through playback.
SlingPlayer Mobile for UIQ
Sling Media on Thursday said it would expand SlingPlayer Mobile to add support for phones running the UIQ operating system. The new version will allow some Sony-Ericsson and Motorola phones to stream and remotely control Slingbox devices at home whenever the device is connected to either a 3G or Wi-Fi network. The initial lineup will include the P1i (pictured) and P990i smartphones, the M600i, as well as the W950i and W960i Walkman phones. Motorola's RIZR Z8 is also included, Sling said. The updated version of the software will be available in the summer and will sell for $30 to first-time users but will also be downloadable for free for existing owners.
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.
EchoStar DISH and Sling
EchoStar has formally split up in a way that could impact the future of Sling Media's Slingbox devices, based on details of an SEC filing. The company has formally changed its name to DISH Network. The change reflects the former EchoStar's core businesses of satellite TV service and producing its own set-top boxes, according to the update. Part of the company, now called Echostar Holdings, will break away from DISH and carries Sling Media with it. The Slingbox maker was bought by EchoStar in September and was originally believed to be used for adding Internet-based remote viewing for DISH subscribers.