Archives For Slingbox

OK, so maybe we can’t ascribe hatred to Hulu, an emotionless corporate entity and online pawn of the studio system. Let’s just say Hulu exhibits something akin to disrespect or disdain and clearly calls the shots as they reach into our homes and devices to decide what web browsing technologies are permissible. They talk about content licensing challenges, and I bet that is the primary factor driving their behavior. However, as content consumers, most of us don’t care on a conceptual level. All we know is that Hulu blocks select, legit web browsing software and hardware from accessing their website. Which potentially makes this a net neutrality issue.

What’s got me spun up (this time) is that while Flash technology is coming to Android, access to the Hulu website will be prohibited. From Engadget and according to Adobe’s CEO (who looks to be in cahoots with Hulu):

Hulu is a legal issue. It’s a great app, we understand the interest, but there’s content licensing issues that prevent it for global or even mobile devices. It’s not something that is a technical issue at all.

I call BS. Regional restrictions are one thing, but excluding my browser of choice because you don’t like my platform is something else entirely. Where will Hulu draw the line? If they work a deal with Apple, will Windows web browsers be blocked? If they work a deal with Sony, will the PS3 be unblocked? The platform should be irrelevant as long the content is presented as intended and not scraped (like the original Boxee implementation).

I’m sure there’s a reasonable middle ground, but wonder if the studio system will find it before their market erodes (or is replaced) – as seen with the music industry. Until then, if this is how TV Everywhere is going play out, I retract my ‘death of roll-your-own placeshifting’ proclamation. And suggest everyone purchase a Slingbox.

Sling Media offers a two part solution for streaming video from your home to an internet-connected PC or mobile phone. First you buy a Slingbox to stick next to your home A/V components (cable box, TiVo, etc), and then you run the SlingPlayer software on a Mac or Windows PC, or a supported smartphone including Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm OS, or Symbian device.

A few months ago we learned that an Android version was in the works, and now it looks like Sling Media has launched a limited beta of SlingPlayer Mobile for Android. The closed beta isn’t available to the general public yet, but a beta tester sent a message to Android news site Phandroid — despite the fact that the message specifically said not to share it. While this could clearly be enough kick this particular tester out of the beta test if he’s discovered, it’s also a good indication that the wait for a full fledged SlingPlayer Mobile client for Android is in the works and hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for a public release.

There’s no word on the final pricing, but SlingPlayer Mobile generally runs about $30 on other platforms.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

Today marks the end of an era as the SlingCommunity shutters its doors. I assume this isn’t entirely voluntary on their part, given Sling Media’s recently launched Slingbox tech support-oriented forum. In fact, years of SlingCommunity content (215,000 posts) will vanish later today when their URL will begin redirecting all traffic to answers.slingbox.com.

As a very early Slingbox owner and, later, as a Sling Media employee, I have a pretty good handle on Sling’s forum arc.

The Slingbox was a hot topic of discussion on AVS Forum at launch in 2005. It’s where I got to know founder and CEO Blake Krikorian. And convinced him the office workers of the world needed a Windows 2000 client. And they turned one around in 48 hours. As the conversation grew, Sling approached the owners of AVS about cordoning off a dedicated Sling area. But they wouldn’t play ball. In fact, I got the sense they didn’t appreciate the company’s public contributions for whatever reason. So Sling took their cash elsewhere and partnered with Capable Networks, who launched the SlingCommunity. Continue Reading…

DISH VIP 922 Slingbox DVR

380 million dollars and 2.5 years in the making, the world’s first DVR containing Slingbox functionality has arrived. Of course, this is exactly the sort of hybrid product we expected when Echostar acquired Sling Media in 2007. Although it wasn’t actually until CES 2009 that our suspicions were confirmed. And DISH Network’s 2009 launch plans have obviously slipped. Yet, the wait is now over!

In addition to placeshifting capabilities and other remote access functionality, the dual tuner VIP 922 SlingLoaded DVR pairs a brand new and possibly app-alicious UI (see below) with a roomy 1 terabyte drive and powerline networking. Fortunately, Echo/Sling/DISH drew the line there and chose not bundle the horrible prototype touchpad remote control. Not only was it difficult to navigate one handed, like Sezmi, it did away with the number keys.

DISH-VIP-922-VOD

It’s not clear (to me) from DISH’s site what the VIP 922 and service run, but Engadget came across a memo which indicates a MSRP of $695 for the hardware, with leases starting as low as $200 (whatever that means). I don’t have many options as a potential reviewer with an obstructed satellite view. So, like most, I’ll resign myself to waiting for the pro journalists to chime in and and early customer testimonials. But on paper (or LCD), the VIP 922 sure looks hot.

It may not be quite as nice as their upcoming higher resolution, universal app, but it appears the existing iPhone OS Slingbox client ($30, iTunes) is a go on the 9.7″ iPad. I’m currently tabletless, but posed the Sling question to my Twitteverse. And heard back from several reputable sources including ZDNet’s Jason Perlow, Macworld Editor Jason Snell, analyst/columnist Michael Gartenberg, and TiVoblog’s Alex Raiano. The consensus seems to be that the iPhone SlingPlayer app works, but a native client is preferred. However, you don’t have to take their word for it… As Jeff Finkelstein has kindly shared a video demo with us.

I recently checked in with my former Sling peeps, regarding mobile clients. Specifically, codecs and resolution. As we know, a Slingbox Android client is on tap this summer. And I wondered if they’re sticking with WMV video streaming or moving to H.264 for this platform. While I wasn’t able to get a definitive answer on Android from Mobile Product Marketing Manager, Dave Eyler, I have learned they’re “actively moving towards H.264″ – which requires the newer, more capable placeshifters (think SOLO or PRO-HD). Also, it’s really no surprise that they’ll be going the Silverlight route for Windows Phone 7.

In regards to resolution, I don’t don’t believe Sling Media has taken mobile client video resolutions beyond 320×240. By design, due to processing power, memory, bandwidth and battery life. But, here comes the iPad. And I don’t want a pixel-doubled iPhone SlingPlayer app on that large screen. Fortunately, Sling has confirmed they’re prepared to accommodate me with something a bit better, some day…

When it makes a noticeable difference in quality, we will definitely provide higher resolution streaming.  The iPad is a good example of a device where we are hard at work on this, but unfortunately it won’t be there at the April launch.

Sling Media is developing an Android version of its SlingPlayer mobile software that will let you stream live video from your home theater to your Android phone. Sling already offers SlingPlayer clients for Windows Mobile, PalmOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, and the iPhone for about $30 each. While Sling hasn’t announced Android client pricing, it seems safe to assume it will run about the same  when launched this summer. In order to stream TV using the SlingPlayer, you need a Slingbox,  that you plug into your home theater components. For instance, if you want to be able to stream media stored on your DVR, you can connect your DVR, allowing you to watch live or pre-recorded programs, pause, play, as well as play, pause, fast forward, or rewind. Check out a video of an early version of the application up top, courtesy of Android and Me.

This post republished from Mobiputing.