When the recently released Boxee and Google TV Slingbox client “apps” launched (1, 2), I was pretty psyched. Not only did this represent the first time we could stream our content television-to-television (without dedicated SlingCatcher hardware), unlike Echo Star’s mobile apps, these new services arrived at no cost. However, the fee-free element may merely be temporary given the latest Slingbox emailed newsletter:
During this introductory period SlingPlayer for Logitech Revue is free!
SlingPlayer for connected devices is free of charge in North America during this introductory period.
Interestingly, the way in which EchoStar first presented the Flash-based SlingPlayer for Connected Devices about a year ago led me to believe we might see some sort of monthly or annual subscription. Which is why last month I was “pleasantly surprised to see it’s being offered without a one-time or recurring fee.” But it looks like I may have spoken too soon and changes lie ahead… perhaps dependent on uptake.
On a broader scale, roll-your-own placeshifting technology remains a niche and transitional solution. So, for EchoStar to keep this division and product line alive, they probably need to see substantially more revenue and ongoing service fees could be just the ticket.