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The Slingbox is a TV streaming device that enables users to remotely view their home's cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) programming from an Internet-enabled computer with a broadband Internet connection. It is produced by Sling Media of San Mateo, California.


[edit] Operation

A Slingbox can redirect one of its inputs to a single computer 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 of accessing content is known as placeshifting.

A Slingbox connects a TV source (via coaxial cable, composite cables, component cables, or S-video cable) to an existing Internet connection. Digital video recorders and cable or satellite set top boxes can be controlled through a separate infrared (IR) cable that lets users change channels from the remote location. Software on a user's computer or mobile device connects to the Slingbox and provides the user interface for viewing the video stream and changing channels. Onscreen virtual remote controls are provided for controlling almost all connected devices. Note that all control inputs are done in the SlingPlayer window via computer mouse. There is no provision for use of hardware IR remote control units while watching SlingPlayer even if the PC has an IR receiver.

[edit] SlingPlayer software

The Slingbox utilizes 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. While old versions of SlingPlayer ran under old versions of Wine, there is presently no way to run SlingPlayer in Linux using current releases of either. The latest stable SlingPlayer version for Windows is version This version includes a live video buffer to pause, fast-forward, and rewind up to 60 minutes of live video, an integrated channel/program guide, and a web-based account to assist in finding and connecting to the Slingbox via the internet.[1][2]

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. Official Version Page

During the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show the company announced a future feature known as Clip+Sling that allows users to share clips of their favorite TV shows with each other through a hosted Web service. The announcement was made during Les Moonves' keynote speech.[3][4]

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[5] 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.[6] There is also a mobile version available for Windows Mobile phones for free called mReplay Mobi.[7]

[edit] Mobile

Sling Players are available for various mobile platforms from Nokia Symbian OS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile to Palm OS based devices.[8]

[edit] Apple iPhone

SlingPlayer for the iPhone OS was demonstrated at Macworld Expo 2009 in January and has been submitted to the App Store in March 2009.[9]

[edit] Nokia Symbian S60

SlingPlayers also work on Nokia Symbian OS S60 platform based mobile devices, such as Nokia N73, Nokia E65, Nokia N95 and Nokia 6120.[10]

Minimum technical requirements:

  • Symbian S60 phone (Symbian OS 9.1 S60 3rd edition or above), with 3G (HSDPA or UMTS) wireless service and/or WiFi Internet connectivity
  • Symbian UIQ phone (Symbian OS 9.1 UIQ 3.0) with WiFi Internet connectivity

[edit] BlackBerry

SlingPlayers will work on BlackBerry devices with the following minimum technical requirements.[11]

[edit] Windows Mobile

Sling Media released a Windows Mobile version of their player on April 26, 2006 which allows users to stream their video over Pocket PCs and smartphones.

[edit] Palm OS

A Palm OS client Beta has also been released.[12]

[edit] SlingCatcher

In January of 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 take the place of 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.[13]

In early September, 2008, Sling Media announced that the SlingCatcher would be available for an October 2nd, 2008 release date (since revised to "Early October".) Several websites offer the SlingCatcher for pre-order.

The SlingCatcher became commercially available in October 2008, to mixed reviews.[14]

[edit] Customer support

The configuration of a SlingBox requires several technical steps including configuring the consumer's firewall and setting WAN mode of the device. Comprehensive help for virtually every small-office/home router is available at Sling Media's support site.[15] Configuring a SlingBox can sometimes be difficult for users who are not experienced with router configuration or port forwarding.

[edit] Broadcasting

The SlingBox has found an unexpected niche in television broadcasting. Broadcast engineers at several TV stations have installed them at remote 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.[16]

[edit] Versions

  • Slingbox SOLO [1]
  • Slingbox TUNER [2]
  • Slingbox AV [3]
  • Slingbox PRO HD
  • Slingbox PRO [4]
  • Slingbox Classic: discontinued in US, but remains available in other countries.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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