Sling Media has officially unveiled its new SlingCatcher TV media streaming box to the UK press, after first showing the product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
Blaming the delay between demonstration and launch on technical issues, Sling Media's Stuart Collingwood introduced the "revolutionary" device that allows video content from a cable, satellite or Freeview box to be transmitted to another TV in the house. This builds on the original Slingbox product, which could stream TV content to a computer or mobile phone, within or external to a home network.
The SlingCatcher unit resembles a truncated pyramid. It has an infrared sensor on the front to allow it be controlled by the included handset, and a host of ports and video output options on the back. It can receive video from a Slingbox elsewhere in the house through its wired ethernet port, and output through HDMI, S-video, component or composite outputs. Audio is accessible through either two phono sockets, or as SPDIF digital through a coaxial phono socket.
As well as receiving streaming media from a remote source, the SlingCatcher has a pair of USB 2.0 inputs, allowing it to playback video from a local USB drive or USB memory stick.
Formats accepted include WMV, Mpeg2, Mpeg4, H.264 and xVid. High-definition content is supported, but only played back through the DRM (digital rights management)-protected HDMI port.
However, in the press demonstration, video content streamed from a Dell laptop was not fully smooth, suggesting insufficient data throughput. The aspect ratio of the video seemed to be an issue too: streamed DVD content could not be adjusted satisfactorily to properly fill a large TV screen, leading to distortion, with actors appearing stunted.
UK pricing will be announced in early October.