Archives For Video

SlingCatcher Now Available

Dave Zatz —  October 9, 2008 — 33 Comments

Although the SlingCatcher (MSRP $300) has been prematurely trickling out of various retail locations these last few days, today marks the official launch date of Sling Media’s “universal media player for your TV.”

Given my former relationship with Sling, I’ve had early and continual access to the product. And the most visible change made since CES was blowing up the interface and starting from scratch. Something I fully support. The original UI was extremely unique, but we tried too hard to be clever at the cost of usability and performance. The new design is much cleaner, quicker, and will scale as the Catcher platform evolves.

A brief summary of SlingCatcher functionality:

SlingPlayer for TV Stream and control video from a local or remote Slingbox to the television without a computer in the mix. Caveat: The Catcher is not yet capable of receiving HD video resolutions from the PRO-HD, though it’s in the works.

SlingProjector Project (“screenscrape”) pretty much any audio and video from a Windows PC to the television, full screen or select windows/regions, using a home network. Unlike the two-way ZvBox remote, playback and control are initiated at the computer.

My Media Play a variety of audio and video files from a connected USB hard drive or thumb drive. Windows synchronization and video conversion software is in the works. Detailed file support can be found here (Word doc). While not yet available, the intent is to enable direct web video playback of content.

As review units haven’t started shipping to my fellow press and bloggers, I’m keeping the coverage light… But will continue to answer questions in the comments.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  October 7, 2008 — Leave a comment

A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our other blogs: Heads into Beta

Dave Zatz —  October 3, 2008 — 7 Comments

As a few sites reported yesterday, has gone into beta (and is taking applicants). Sling Media’s online video play was first announced at CES 2007 as a destination where Slingbox owners could share video clips with the world. As you can see above, the scope of the portal has greatly evolved from the original concept to include full-length television content through various partnerships. And to provide a web-based SlingPlayer – hot! I can confirm paidContent’s report: Clipping functionality won’t be immediately available though much of this programming will ultimately also be viewable on a television via the forthcoming SlingCatcher.

While most of the world is talking about Vudu’s new higher definition HDX content (which I haven’t tested) today, what got my attention is the $200 movie credit being run in conjunction with Best Buy’s nationwide rollout. Purchase a $295 Vudu box via or a brick & mortar location by the end of the year and receive $200 of content. While their HD library has lagged the competition in the past, the Vudu box provides a superior movie experience over a Xbox 360 or AppleTV. If you can consume $200 worth of content in four months, $95 for Vudu is an excellent deal. Two possible gotchas:

  • Movie Credit may not be applied towards any content on the AVN Adult Channel.

PlayOn: Netflix on your PS3?

Dave Zatz —  October 2, 2008 — 24 Comments

I first came across PlayOn a few weeks ago. The PC-based software streams several Internet video site’s content to DLNA-compatible devices. PlayOn is still in beta, though the promised Netflix Watch Now support has just hit. Like most of the PlayOn experience, it continues to be rough around the edges – which is not unreasonable for pre-release software.

There’s a lot of promise here… Folks would much rather watch long form content from their couch and PlayOn leverages existing hardware platforms, such as the Xbox 360 and PS3 with Wii support on the way. While I am hopeful, thus far my experiences have been mixed. Check out the list of folders below right. That’s how you (try to) navigate Hulu. My Netflix experiment this AM wasn’t so successful either. While I could bring up my playlist (above), no movies would stream. And after a few minutes of futzing, PlayOn decided my Netflix credentials were no longer valid.

If they can tighten up the experience, both interface and reliability, while keeping up with any changes these sites will periodically throw at them, PlayOn will be well worth the $30 software fee. But not yet.