The Slingbox is a TV streaming media device made by Sling Media that encodes video into the VC-1 format for transmission over the Internet and provides an infrared blaster. The video encoding and IR blaster can both be operated remotely over the Internet. These features allow users to remotely view and control their home's cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) system from an Internet-enabled computer with a broadband Internet connection.
- 1 Operation
- 2 SlingPlayer software
- 2.1 Sling.com
- 2.2 Mobile
- 2.3 Connected Devices
- 3 SlingCatcher
- 4 Slingbox Solo hardware
- 5 Broadcasting
- 6 Slingbox versions
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
A Slingbox can redirect one of its inputs to one computer or mobile device located on a local network or remotely, when using a broadband Internet connection, anywhere in the world. To avoid copyright infringement, only one user can access the stream from a Slingbox at a time. This way to access content is called placeshifting.
A slingbox is a small device that can control the functions of a TV source (in this example, a cable box) to which it is attached. It is connected also to the Internet, typically via a local Ethernet network. A user with the related software on his remote computer can connect to the device, thereby controlling the cable box. He then receives back the video and audio output of the cable box, almost as though he were watching TV at home.
The Slingbox uses Sling Media's proprietary SlingPlayer to display audio and video on Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh running Mac OS X, and selected mobile devices. SlingPlayer is not available for Linux, BSD or other open source systems, although old versions of SlingPlayer run under Wine with some workarounds and in a reduced capacity. The latest stable SlingPlayer version for Windows is version 2.0.4. This version includes a live video buffer to pause, rewind, and re-play up to 60 minutes of live video, an integrated channel/program guide (USA/Canada only), and a web-based account to assist in finding and connecting to the Slingbox via the internet.
Sling Media announced a Mac OS X port of the SlingPlayer at the January 2006 Macworld Conference and Expo with a promised release date of Q2 2006. The release was later delayed to Q3 2006, and then again to Q4 2006, leading to allegations that Sling Media was promoting vaporware. In September 2006, Sling Media began selling new Slingbox hardware in packages that had the official Mac OS X logo on the outside, indicating support for the Macintosh platform even though the Mac OS X port of the player software was still not available. Sling Media released the first public beta of their player for Mac OS X on October 31, 2006. A completed version was released in early 2007. Version 1.0 works on both PowerPC and Intel Macs as long as it runs at least Mac OS X v10.3.9. The latest stable SlingPlayer version for Mac OS X is version 1.0.10.
During the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, the firm announced a future feature named Clip+Sling. It allows users to share clips of their favorite TV shows with each other through a hosted Web service. The announcement was made during Leslie Moonves' keynote speech.
Applian Technologies released a PC-based recording program for Slingbox in 2006 called At-Large Recorder 1.0. Following that event, Sling Media added an encrypted protocol to the communication between SlingPlayer and Slingbox, rendering At-Large Recorder 1.0 useless with newer firmware. In October 2007, Applian Technologies released At-Large Recorder 2, which is once again able to capture and record Slingbox streams on a Windows PC. At-Large Recorder 2 includes a circular recording feature for use in continuously capturing feeds from security cameras or media monitoring.
mReplay provides no-cost rich internet applications that allow Slingbox users to watch, control, record, edit and share the content of their Slingbox all in Internet Explorer or Firefox without traditional software installation called mReplay Live. There is also a mobile version available for Windows Mobile phones for free called mReplay Mobi.
On December 2, 2008, Sling Media announced the public launch of Sling.com, an online video entertainment destination. Users can go to Sling.com to watch clips, TV shows, films, news and sports. This includes video programming from over 90 content providers spanning 150 content brands. In addition to the on-demand offerings, Slingbox owners could connect to their Slingbox through the website, making their Slingboxes available without a software client download.
On January 6, 2009, Sling Media unveiled a prototype of their HD solution for Mac OS X. SlingPlayer for Mac HD is a web-based version of the SlingPlayer software that will be accessible from Sling.com. Sling Media also revealed that they would not release a standalone desktop version of SlingPlayer for Mac HD. This signaled Sling Media's intent to cease developing the standalone desktop versions of their software, and to begin migrating users to Sling.com for access to their Slingbox.
Apple iPhone, iPod Touch
The announcement of the iPhone and iPod Touch application began a controversy among owners of older Slingboxes as Sling Media has announced that only the Slingbox Solo, Pro and ProHD models will be supported by the iPhone client. Older Slingbox models Classic, Tuner and AV are not officially supported, although they do appear to work with the application nonetheless. Owners of these models have been offered a $50 discount, although they in turn have pointed out that this does not bring the price down to even what Amazon sells Slingboxes for as of 2010.
As of 2010[update], Sling Media had not offered any public explanation for the cutoff, although one possibility may be related to the DSP in newer models being programmable at runtime to deliver an H.264 stream (the iPhone's preferred format) while older boxes may only be able to deliver a WMV-encoded stream. Other communications from Sling refer to the need to upgrade to be ready for "new features" not yet disclosed.
On May 12, 2009, the SlingPlayer App became available at the Apple App Store, but only for US, Canadian and UK accounts. It sells for $29.99 and will only use Wi-Fi to stream content. Sling's promotional email confirmed that the SlingPlayer for iPhone works with wi-fi connections only "At Apple's request" – a decision believed to have been made at the behest of incumbent iPhone network operators such as AT&T and O2.
On February 4, 2010, the SlingPlayer App gained the ability to stream content on AT&T's 3G Network. This change was done 100% by AT&T as the SlingPlayer App already features quality scaling of content based on connection type.
On November 24, 2010, Sling Media announced the release and immediate availability of the SlingPlayer Mobile app for the iPad. The price is $29.99 for the app. The iPad-specific app will take full advantage of the iPad's large screen by offering a higher resolution stream than on other devices with smaller screens.
Nokia Symbian S60
Minimum technical requirements:
- Symbian S60 phone (Symbian 9.1 S60 3rd edition or above), with 3G (HSDPA or UMTS) wireless service and/or Wi-Fi Internet connectivity
- Symbian UIQ phone (Symbian 9.1 UIQ 3.0) with Wi-Fi Internet connectivity
SlingPlayer Mobile will work on BlackBerry devices with these minimum technical requirements. It does not work with operating system 6 or newer, nor is there "plans to update SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry to support new BlackBerry models that run BlackBerry OS 6 or 7." 
A supported BlackBerry smartphone with 3G wireless service and/or Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, and these minimum device software versions:
|BlackBerry Bold 9700||22.214.171.124||126.96.36.1996 to 188.8.131.523 do not work|
|BlackBerry Bold 9000||184.108.40.206||220.127.116.11|
|BlackBerry Curve 8900||18.104.22.168||22.214.171.124|
|BlackBerry Curve 8320||126.96.36.199||188.8.131.52|
|BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220||184.108.40.206||220.127.116.11|
|BlackBerry Pearl 8120||18.104.22.168||22.214.171.124|
Microsoft Windows Mobile
Microsoft Windows Phone 7
When the Palm Pre (the first Palm webOS device), was announced in the spring of 2009, Sling Media was a "launch partner", indicating that they would make their SlingPlayer Mobile software available for the Palm Pre at or near the launch of the handset. As of October 2010[update], no version of SlingPlayer Mobile for webOS has been made publicly available. This has led to complaints from users and allegations of Sling Media promoting vaporware. Using the Classic emulator in webOS, "SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS" will start, successfully connect to and control remote Slingboxes; however, the VC-1 video and audio stream will not be decoded.
A cross-platform Flash applet is available via the Sling website but it is not compatible with all models, particularly older models such as the Slingbox Classic.
SlingPlayer has gained support for devices connected to a television.
WDTV Live Streaming and WDTV Live Hub
The WDTV Live Streaming and WDTV Live Hub both gained Slingplayer support in their June 2012 firmware updates.
Hopper with Sling
At the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, television provider Dish Network (a former corporate sibling of Sling Media's parent company Echostar) introduced the Hopper with Sling, a digital video recorder with Slingbox technology built-in, allowing recordings and live TV to be streamed from the box via the Dish Network website or a suite of Dish Anywhere mobile apps.
In January 2007, Sling Media announced the launch of the SlingCatcher, a hardware device similar to a set top box, which would enable users to watch their television remotely, without the need for a computer. The SlingCatcher will purportedly ship with a hardware remote control to replace the on-screen remote and thus give a more true-to-life television experience.
The SlingCatcher was scheduled for release by the end of Q2 2007. One year later, information about the device could still be found on the Sling Media website and occasional snippets of information referencing it appear in industry magazines, but the absence of a release date led to accusations of the product being vaporware.
In early September, 2008, Sling Media announced that the SlingCatcher would be available for an October 2, 2008 release date (later revised to "Early October".) Several websites offered the SlingCatcher for pre-order.
The SlingCatcher became commercially available in October 2008, to mixed reviews. Much of the initial criticism revolved around a lack of support for streaming HD, which is now possible after software update v126.96.36.199.
Slingbox Solo hardware
The SlingBox has found an unexpected niche market in television broadcasting. Broadcast engineers at several TV stations have installed them at remote "towercam" locations to observe traffic and weather conditions. KPIX-TV in San Francisco has several connected with wireless networking, using EV-DO via a cellular network (mobile phone) provider. This costs only a few hundred dollars for each site, versus well over ten thousand for a setup with a remote pickup unit and auxiliary broadcast licenses. However, the system is not yet reliable or broadband enough to handle live remote broadcasts. Cable TV providers are also using it to provide proof of performance for companies that run TV ads on their systems.
It is also used with Amateur television transmissions.
- Slingbox Pro HD
- Slingbox Solo
- Slingbox 700U
- Slingbox 120 (Only available in the Indian market)
- Slingbox Pro – Discontinued
- Slingbox AV – Discontinued
- Slingbox Tuner SB220-100 - Discontinued
- Slingbox Tuner – Discontinued
- Slingbox Classic – Discontinued
- Slingbox 350 - New -
- Slingbox 500 - New - WiFi enabled
- LocationFree Player, a competing product line from Sony
- HDHomeRun, a network digital TV tuner
- Vulkano, a competing product line from Monsoon Multimedia
- Dreambox, a competing product line from Dream Multimedia
- DBox2, a competing product
- NationPhone Remote, Slingbox remote as alternative Catcher
- TV2Me, an original placeshifting device, invented by Ken Schaffer
- @TV, a competing product line from Belkin
- Jeremy Toeman (15 January 2007). "Sling Media shows Clip+Sling at CES2007: CBS Keynote video". LIVEdigitally.
- Watch out YouTube: It's Clip + Sling video – CNET TV
- mReplay Live
- mReplay Mobi
- Sling Media – SlingPlayer Mobile Overview
- Sling Media – SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone
- Sling Media – SlingPlayer Mobile for Symbian
- Sling Media – BlackBerry
- Sling Media Launches SlingPlayer Mobile for Android Smartphones, Foster City, CA: Sling Media, Inc., June 22, 2010, retrieved June 15, 2013, "Sling Media, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), announced today the availability of its SlingPlayer Mobile™ application for Android™ Smartphones. ... SlingPlayer Mobile Android is available now for download for $29.99* in the Android Market in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States."
- "SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS". Sling Media. 2009-04-11. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Can I run SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS on the new Palm Pre". Sling Media Support Article: How To... Sling Media. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- Lendino, Jamie. "CES 2013: Dish Launches Sling-Enabled Hopper". PC World. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- Sling Catcher Vaporware Again?
- SlingCatcher – At A Glance – Reviews by PC Magazine, October 24, 2008.
- Can I stream HD from my Slingbox PRO-HD to my SlingCatcher?, December 2009.
- The Slingbox Solution | Broadcasters adapt innovative online device for remote cam coverage
- Broadcast Engineering – WHIZ-TV finds ENG role for Slingbox, wireless Ethernet bridge
- CNET Networks – San Francisco TV station Slings the news