SlingMedia is bringing two HD (high-definition) versions of its Slingbox media-streaming device to the UK. The Slingbox is a set-top box that enables users to watch their own TV from elsewhere in the home or from anywhere else in the world.
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The Slingbox Pro, a modified version of the Slingbox that's already onsale in the US, will be available in the UK from tomorrow via Amazon.co.uk and various retail outlets including PC World. The Slingbox Solo will follow next week.
The Slingbox Pro will sport HD compatibility and four AV (audio video) inputs. Unlike the US version, in Europe, the Slingbox Pro will have a built-in DVB-T TV tuner, so can be used to pick up digital terrestrial channels and then 'sling' them to wherever you want to view them.
Maker Sling Media sees the Slingbox Pro as a "step up product" from the original Slingbox launched in the UK last June. While it doesn't offer true HD streaming, the Slingbox is able to compress HD content and stream it over a Wi-Fi network at up to 8Mpbs (megabits per second). The Slingbox Pro will cost £200 including VAT.
The Slingbox Solo version of the Slingbox will go onsale from 5 October.
Costing £130 including VAT, the Slingbox Solo is designed to take content from a single external device such as a cable TV set-top or a PVR (personal video recorder) and stream or 'sling' it over broadband to a laptop or PC.
Unlike some TV over broadband products, a Slingbox can enable live TV viewing and can be accessed from more than one remote location or device. Users simply need suitable SlingPlayer software installed on their laptop or PC and to be able to hook up to their own Slingbox over a broadband connection.
The Slingbox Solo is the first Slingbox product to debut simultaneously in the US and other territories. In the past, the US has been the launch audience, with products being rolled out in other countries a year later.
Sling Media says the Slingbox Solo will replace the now entry-level Slingbox Classic, which will continue to be sold only until stocks run out.
When it launched in the UK, the Slingbox cost £179 including VAT and went head-to-head against Sony’s largely similar Sony LocationFree TV-over-broadband box. The retail price eventually dropped to £99 and Sling Media says it expects a similar pattern with the Slingbox Solo.
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