Appliance ''Placeshifts'' the Living Room TV
By Mike Hanlon
June 30, 2005
July 1, 2005 Sling Media yesterday announced the US availability of the much-anticipated Slingbox. Transforming Windows XP based PCs and laptops into personal on-the-go digital TVs, the Slingbox allows individuals anywhere-anytime access to their own living room television experience with no additional monthly service fees. In a concept quite similar to Sony's LocationFree TV which enables you to watch your home TV in almost real time from anywhere via the internet, the Slingbox is an appliance which when used in conjunction with broadband turns any Internet-connected laptop or desktop PC into a personal TV, enabling consumers to watch their cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) programming from wherever they are in the world. If the Slingbox is coupled with a broadband Internet connection, the viewer's live TV stream can be "placeshifted" via the Internet to a PC located anywhere in the world.
"The Slingbox clearly defines a new era for television viewing," said Blake Krikorian, Sling Media co-founder and CEO. "Our goal is to enhance the TV-viewing experience by allowing people easy access to their living room television content, no matter their location: around the house or around the world."
Krikorian's view is shared by others in the consumer electronics market as well. "The advent of technologies like the Slingbox that enable consumers to view TV programs where and when they want will change the landscape of television viewing and the consumer electronics marketplace," said Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro.
The Slingbox retails for $249.99 and requires no new or ongoing subscription fees. Available in stores today, the Slingbox is sold nationwide at consumer electronics retailers Best Buy and CompUSA, as well as online at BestBuy.com and CompUSA.com.
How the Slingbox Works
The Slingbox fits neatly into a consumer's existing TV and network infrastructure. All that is required is a video source providing TV-based entertainment -- either cable, satellite TV, or a PVR -- and a home router. A broadband network connection is required only if you want to use the Slingbox to view your video source from outside your home.
In just four simple steps, the Slingbox is ready for use.
1. Connect the TV source to the Slingbox.
2. Connect the Slingbox to your home network router.
3. Plug in the Slingbox power adapter.
4. Install Sling Media's software application, the SlingPlayer(TM).
The Slingbox is now ready to view and control your TV programming via your Internet connected Windows XP PC or laptop as if you were sitting in your living room, watching your TV source, and using its own remote control. Under the Hood
The Slingbox is powered by a high-performance digital signal processor from Texas Instruments and leverages Microsoft's latest Windows Media technologies for live TV streaming. The Sling Media software used to view the streaming video from a Slingbox and to remotely control a user's cable TV, satellite box, or PVR is called SlingPlayer. SlingPlayer uses proprietary technology designed by Sling Media to significantly enhance the consumer viewing experience.
The SlingPlayer proprietary software encompasses several innovative technologies and features including:
SlingStream -- a proprietary streaming technology specifically designed to address varying network conditions while optimizing your video playback experience. SlingStream provides the best possible video experience by continuously monitoring the connection speed and dynamically adjusting the video compression ratios to match your available network bandwidth.
SlingRemote -- a virtual remote control, which displays on your PC screen the buttons found on the remote control of the TV source connected to your Slingbox. If a PVR is connected, you can play your recorded programs and control the action. Recordings can even be scheduled within the SlingPlayer software. Use the SlingRemote to control whatever TV source is connected to the Slingbox.
SlingBar -- a convenient way to watch TV while using your computer for other functions. You can watch TV while surfing the Web, writing an email, or working on a spreadsheet. Using the SlingPlayer application, the video window and the SlingRemote can be "docked" to one side of the PC screen, in what's called the SlingBar mode. Your PC desktop will dynamically resize to fit the remaining screen space.
In the coming months, SlingPlayer software will be available for select PDAs, smart phones, and Macintosh computers and will be fully compatible with the Slingbox.