Sling Media, Inc. is making their Slingbox available in the US. The product was first shown during the CES 2005 and promises to transform Windows XP based PCs and laptops into personal digital TVs.
The Slingbox allows individuals access to their television experience with no additional monthly service fees through a home network or over the Internet.
The device will capture streams from cable and satellite receivers, or personal video recorder (PVR) programming and redirect, or "placeshift," to the viewer's PC located anywhere in the home. If the Slingbox is coupled with a broadband Internet connection, the viewer's live TV stream can be "placeshifted" via the Internet.
The Slingbox retails for US$249.99 and requires no new or ongoing subscription fees. A broadband network connection is required only if you want to use the Slingbox to view your video source from outside your home.
The Slingbox is powered by a high-performance DSP (digital signal processor) from Texas Instruments and is based on Microsoft 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.
The SlingPlayer proprietary software encompasses several technologies and features including a proprietary streaming technology designed to address varying network conditions while optimizing 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.
The software includes SlingRemote, a virtual remote control, which displays on a PC screen the buttons found on the remote control of the TV source connected to the Slingbox.
In the coming months, SlingPlayer software will be available for select PDAs, smartphones, and Apple Mac computers and will be fully compatible with the Slingbox.