What is a Slingbox?
The original Slingbox, launched two years ago, broke new ground. Originally pitched at sports fans who couldn't bear to miss a game wherever they may be and who craved the familiarity of their native commentators, as well as businessmen in foreign hotel rooms who wanted to watch home TV content or access prerecorded content on their digital PVRs, the Slingbox also allows users to view TV on their laptops or desktop PCs when they really ought to be doing other things.
The idea caught on: Sling Media says it sold 100,000 units in the first six months of being onsale in the US.
The Slingbox Solo and the UK version of the Slingbox Pro join a growing line-up of Slingbox products. Sling Media, which this week announced it was being bought out by one of its investors, pay TV company Echostar, sells a mobile version of the Slingbox known as the SlingPlayer foe Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. It also has a HomePlug known as the SlingLink and a SlingCatcher, which allows home users watching TV on one telly, to stream it to another, too.
The SlingCatcher needs no PC to operate, instead shunting TV content directly from TV to TV – a setup designed to appeal to non-techies who have cable or a digital set-top box in one room and who want to be able to view those same extra channels on another TV elsewhere in the home where an extra set-top box is either impractical or undesirable. Sling Media calls this setup a 'reverse Slingbox".
The SlingCatcher has an HDMI input and comes with a remote control so users can easily change channels from afar.
Another Sling product, Clip and Sling, allows users to pause and rewind a TV program or other video clip they like, add start and end markers and then email or text the link to a friend for them to view as embedded video on the web. Partnerships with CBS and the National Hockey League are cited as US examples, with UK partnerships with "everyone" at various stages of discussion. Clip and Sling will be coming to the UK in the first quarter of next year and is likely to include tie-ins with sports channels or programmes.
Next page: Slingbox to an iPhone?