Slingbox Player Comes To Facebook

Dave Zatz —  November 18, 2011 — 25 Comments

Earlier today, Echostar launched their Slingplayer for Facebook application enabling Slingbox SOLO (~$150) and Slingbox PRO-HD (~$250) owners to stream their home television content through one of the worlds most popular web destinations. (demo video above) Unlike the stand-alone computer applications or existing web players, this requires no software install… meaning folks might experience more flexibility in how and where they view their feed (work,a friend’s home, Kinkos). Sling’s probably also banking on the social nature of Facebook as we advertise their solution to our friends. Unfortunately, the still mostly ubiquitous Flash browser plugin is required and owners of older Slingbox models need not apply.

Speaking of Flash, I suspect this web app features the same underpinnings as the Google TV SlingPlayer demo-ed at CES and upcoming Boxee implementation. Unfortunately, there’s still no word when that SlingPlayer for Connected Devices will launch… or if it’ll carry with it some sort of monthly access fee. All the more reason to identify what URL Sling’s new Facebook app is calling?

Lastly, Sling’s finally released a plugin for the Chrome web browser — something that will serve me well until they go 100% Flash. (And, no, this doesn’t appear to work on Google TV.)

25 responses to Slingbox Player Comes To Facebook

  1. I really wish all of this worked with my trusty old Slingbox AV, but I don’t use it enough to justify buying a new slingbox just to watch it on facebook.

  2. The Chrome plugin is more interesting to me. I really don’t see the benefit of watching SlingPlayer inside of Facebook. They should of just added a share button on the slingbox.com player.

  3. The question is when are we going to see a new sling box for consumers. The sling HD is already 3 years old, if I am not mistaken. I hope will see a new consumer product at CES. I promise to buy one….

  4. Itay, Yeah, I was thinking the same thing this AM… especially as this is the time many companies unveil new products to cash in on holiday sales. We could certainly use a smaller Slingbox with integrated WiFi at this point.

    Bozzy, I wish they’d continue developing stand-alone software lients. I have this fear that one day Echostar will shut down the Sling unit and the web services will fall into disrepair.

  5. I just don’t know why this is even necessary. It the “app” loaded on the server side only, or in the browser only? Otherwise, how is it a better client load than the “watch” slingplayer browser app?

  6. The browser experience is theoretically more capable… but requires a plugin download/install. Again, I’m assuming this is the same stuff the SP for Connected Devices will use. Maybe one day it’ll also replace the plugins. Regardless, the ecosystem has evolved into one where we have no insurance and require Sling’s help to access our products. So hang onto your old Mac and Win software installers.

  7. Boy is the Facebook app SLOW for using the remote. It takes a good few seconds to each button press to be recognized. I logged in to the FB app (Chrome on Mac) and tested it, then using the new plugin for Chrome on Mac. Chrome plugin was good. I normally use their old stand-alone apps which is what I would probably stay with, in any case.

  8. Yeah, they’ve been making it more and more tricky to find the PC software download… certainly doesn’t seem to be their priority.

  9. Glenn, It’s more than tricky, development has ceased on desktop software clients.

    MZ, hm… thanks!

  10. MZ, that link ROCKS! that is the fastest loading player ever, it will now be my goto link if I have to get online quickly. Who needs Fbook.

    Dave, email notifications!!!(welcome to the aughts!)

    ? what is the diff b/w notify of follow-up comments and notify of new posts?

  11. Hmm, I spoke too soon. Can’t get the link to work, at least on the LAN. I get a one second blip of audio, but then nothing.

    tried on FF and chrome.

  12. Seems to be a quality issue. Won’t do highest quality but all the others work. Cool.

  13. Link is also a no-go on Revue/Google TV… but I’m sure there is a link out there that works. Where are the beta testers? Hook us up!

  14. Playing around more with the Facebook code it looks like the Login/Logout is external to the Flash, done as an HTML form and JavaScript. It then passes the account credentials to the Flash app via FlashVars – at least that seems to be how it works.

  15. Oh, and “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” notifies you of additional comments on the one post. “Notify me of new posts by email” subscribes you to email updates for any new posts on the site.

  16. tvoboy, mz – I’ve temporarily disabled that feature. As tivoboy alerted me, all the links in the notification email are broken. I’ve alerted the WordPress folks and offered to provide more details.

  17. “tvoboy, mz – I’ve temporarily disabled that feature. As tivoboy alerted me, all the links in the notification email are broken. I’ve alerted the WordPress folks and offered to provide more details.”

    Really. Simple. Syndication.

    It Just Works.

  18. Chucky – RSS is great for tracking new blog posts, but I think it sucks completely for comments. Most of the time you can subscribe to ALL comments on a blog, which is entirely NOT what I want. I don’t care about MOST comments on blogs, but I *do* like to know when there are new comments on *specific posts*. Not even every post I reply to. Email notifications work better for that. I NEVER use RSS for comments, but I use it all the time for new posts.

    Dave – Did you install Jetpack 1.2.1? They released the update to kill bugs just after they released 1.2.0. Maybe the comment link issue is fixed?

    I looked in subscriptions.php but I think I’d have to do a lot more poking to understand everything in there.

    I switched to Disqus because of things like this. It does threaded comments, email notifications, RSS, has pretty solid spam controls, blacklists, etc. Didn’t you used to use Disqus at one point, or am I misremembering? If so, why’d you stop?

    For email notifications of new posts I just use Feedburner’s support for that.

  19. MZ, years ago I very briefly tried Disqus. But after it corrupted my database trying to replicate comments back and didn’t include the ability to edit comments, I moved on (after a stressful mySQL table recovery and hand repopulation of a dozen or so comments). I generally prefer to maintain complete control of my (your) content where possible.

    I had upgraded Jetpack to 1.2.1, but tivoboy’s reports/emails came after. I imagine the WP folks will get more reports as more people start using it. In our case, the broken email URLs are missing a slash, do not include our domain, and link the post number (versus post title).

  20. “Chucky – RSS is great for tracking new blog posts, but I think it sucks completely for comments … I don’t care about MOST comments on blogs, but I *do* like to know when there are new comments on *specific posts*.”

    It most certainly is possible to RSS subscribe to the comments on a specific post on a blog like Dave’s.

    For example, the formula for this particular thread is:

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2011-11/slingbox-player-comes-to-facebook/feed/

    Try it.

    I don’t bother with single post feeds on a low traffic blog like Dave’s, since it’s easy enough to see the comments on the particular posts you’re interested in via the whole blog comments feed. But if traffic were higher, I’d use individual post comment feeds, as I do on other blogs.

    (I do think Dave should include a single post RSS comment feed link on his individual threads, but he’s never implemented it for whatever reason. Though it’s not a big deal from my POV, since, as stated, the full blog comment feed moves slowly enough to be managable for me.)

    “I switched to Disqus because of things like this.”

    Ugh. Logins, and JavaScript, and tigers! Oh, my! Disqus is a great way to reduce your number of commenters and comment readers, which seems counterproductive on a blog like this, to my way of thinking. Use tried and true standards, not proprietary single points of failure. KISS.

  21. Yeah, I noticed it usually takes a few second for Disqus comments to load on Engadget. Then again, they see many more comments. But it’s more code, remotely hosted. I could add the per post RSS comment feed link, but I’m convinced only 3 of you would use and would rather skip the clutter. Related to comment logins, I suspect the next major release of Jetpack will implement their “highlander” code to offer similar. Not sure we benefit much from it – I’m pretty aggressive with the comment moderation and Akismet is pretty good in getting the obvious spam. We’re only hammered when we bash the PS3. Speaking of which, maybe it’s time to do so once again as it’s good for business. ;) Also, WordPress can natively support threaded comments and include pagination after X amount of comments – but I think we’re low enough traffic to keep it linear.

  22. I find with disqus I get about 10% of the alerts, everything else just fails and I have no idea why. same email address, tag, computer, etc. Not in spam, not email spelling problem just nothing.

  23. I know you can do per-post comment feeds from WordPress, but a) not all blog software does and b) it is a messy pain in the ass, IMHO. I don’t want to keep subscribing and unsubscribing from RSS feeds from ephemeral comment posts. I’m not going to keep comment feeds in my subscriptions forever, but with email notifications if someone posts a comment a year later I get it without any effort and not clutter on my end. And if no one ever comments again I don’t have a wasted feed cluttering my feed list. Email is just better for some things. I’m a lot more active on blogs that have email comment notifications, because I just can’t be bothered to come back and check for new comments on most blogs. Especially not on posts from weeks or months back.

    WordPress now has more of the features from Disqus, but it is still lacking a lot of them and you have to load a lot of plugins to try to get the same functionality. Being able to sign in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, or OpenID is useful for users. Like Gmail and other cloud services, Disqus benefits from crowd sourced weighting for spam blocking, etc. More than Akismet – actually it can use Akismet and add more layers to it. It does comment rating, etc. I looked at a lot of options for commenting and so many WordPress plug-ins, and in the end decided Disqus was more than worth it for the functionality – as an admin and a user.

    If WordPress ever gets their act together and integrates all of the promised features I might look at switching back to self-hosted. But so far I think it has been working well. They’ve probably improved a lot since you tried it, Dave. ;-)

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