SlingBox

The Connected TV Reality

The Connected TV Reality

In March of last year, I canceled my service with DISH Network to embark on a simple experiment. The question was, did I need my television service provider, and the experiment was to see if streaming shows from the Internet could satisfy my television habits. I connected one of my more powerful notebooks as elegantly as possible to my TV via HDMI and the experiment began.

The TV shows they are a-streaming...

In the first few weeks of this experiment, I came to find out that 90% of the TV shows my wife and I watched on a regular basis were available online from either the networks' websites themselves or from Hulu. What suffered however was live sports and shows for our kids, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing as kids probably get enough TV as it is.

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Sling Receiver 300 and Slingbox 700U add placeshifting to EchoStar and DISH Network

Sling Receiver 300 and Slingbox 700U add placeshifting to EchoStar and DISH Network

Slightly less eye-catching than a touchscreen remote and a portable HDTV with integrated WiFi, Sling Media's two remaining products could be no less useful if your cable or satellite provider does the decent thing and decides to offer them.  The Sling Receiver 300 is a slip of a box designed to hook up wirelessly to EchoStar's SlingLoaded 922 HD DVR and funnel 1080i content to a distant HDTV, similar in principle to the Sling Monitor 150 only without the integrated display.  Meanwhile the Slingbox 700U hopes to add place-shifting functionality to existing internet-connected DVRs.

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SlingPlayer Mobile 1.1 for iPhone makes it to App Store

SlingPlayer Mobile 1.1 for iPhone makes it to App Store

Sling Media's new version of SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone and iPod touch, version 1.1, has been approved by Apple.  That means users of the place-shifting TV streamers can now watch footage in true widescreen, as well having native DISH Network control with a new on-device navigation app.  The new version also improves response times, so the whole experience should be snappier.

Unfortunately there's still no 3G support, so you're limited to using a WiFi connection to get your remote viewing fix.  Sling did submit a version of the SlingPlayer Mobile app to Apple which supports 3G connections, albeit intended only for international markets rather than in the US, but there's no word on whether that too has been approved or is still mired in the bowels of Cupertino.

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SlingPlayer Mobile 1.1 adds native iPhone DISH control, international 3G support

SlingPlayer Mobile 1.1 adds native iPhone DISH control, international 3G support

Whether or not there's PR leverage to be had in prematurely announcing your submission to Apple's App Store approval process remains to be seen, but it does give us a sneak-peak as to what's (hopefully) coming down the pipe.  Sling Media have tipped us on their latest iPhone and iPod touch app, SlingPlayer Mobile 1.1, which now includes full 16:9 widescreen support (i.e. that takes up the whole width of the display) and improved DISH Network integration.

AT&T blocking iPhone SlingPlayer 3G in advance of own rival service?

AT&T blocking iPhone SlingPlayer 3G in advance of own rival service?

We loved SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone but hated AT&T's 3G network-access limitations when we reviewed the app earlier this week.  At the time, we suggested that AT&T were discretely uncertain that their 3G network could hold up to thousands of iPhone users streaming video from their Slingboxes; now, according to a Gizmodo tipster, there's another reason on the table.  AT&T is said to be working on its own, rival system, called i-Verse.

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