Have Slingbox, Will Travel

Before Moxi, but after TiVo, there was Slingbox. While the former two allow time shifting of programming, Slingmedia was one of, if not the, first to bring place shifting to the masses. Time shifting is a fancy way of saying that a DVR allows you to record a program for later viewing. Placeshifting means that if you are on the go a great deal (travel for work, dorm away from the folks, etc.) you can now watch your programs as if you were in the comfort of your own home from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection.

Or as they put it themselves:

Sling Media – Slingbox
: "The Slingbox PRO-HD is the first ever HD-streaming Slingbox. With the Slingbox PRO-HD, you can watch and control multiple devices – including your standard- or high-definition DVR, digital cable, satellite receiver, or DVD player – from anywhere in the world on your computer or mobile phone. Your high definition programming streams in HD quality for an amazing picture."

Sounds to good to be true, right. To complete the sling experience you should also take a look at these other offerings:

  • SlingPlayer Mobile : watch what you sling on your mobile phone
  • SlingCatcher: watch what you sling on another TV
  • SlingLink Turbo: Ethernet over Power, a.k.a. HomePlug, to save yourselves wiring headaches

The SlingPlayer Mobile is required for mobile phone viewing as described in the sling blurb, above. The other two are nice to haves. If you want to sling around the house, say to cut down on set top box costs, you can add one or more SlingCatcher devices. If you don’t have your residence wired for Ethernet, then the Turbo comes to your rescue.

One of the very nice things about Slingbox PRO-HD is the built-in tuner. It fully supports:

  • ATSC, free OTA
  • Clear QAM
  • Component connections to an external set top box (TiVo, Moxi, etc.)

So there you have it, yet another device that can reduce dependency on third party broadcast providers, or at least minimize the costs, if you go with a basic cable package.

HD is the latest and greatest official product feature, but while you visit their site you will see a link to a new beta sister website — Sling.com. This offers what you may expect: a portal to your individual Slingbox account. Customers, new and old, may create an account and access their gear remotely. However, what you may not expect is then plethora of streaming content that may be access from this launchpad. In no particular order:

  • CBS
  • Hulu 
  • Crackle

Just to name a few. Imagine that, these three all in one happy place. Now you don’t need separate web accounts, just one at Sling’s site. Pretty savvy. Here’s a clip that is available now:

This is an interesting tactic. Hulu has already proclaimed they want you to virally spread content from its site. The more the Hulu player is embedded across, the more ad revenue that is generated into the Hulu pool. It appears Sling is hoping viewers get hooked on shows and develop such a need to get programming whenever and, more importantly to them, where ever, they all run out and get the latest Slingbox. Why not turn to social networking to try and spruce up sales? It also has the benefit of keeping viewers, new, returning, perhaps not even Sling customers (yet!) engaged in a new way. It will be very interesting to see what the convergence numbers are for this site. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you believe the internet, the PRO-HD may be had, along with a SlingLink Turbo, for only $298 from Buy.com. And that includes shipping. What are you still doing here? Start slinging!

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