Foster City, Calif. — Fresh off Dish Network’s recent appeals court victory over Fox Broadcasting, sister company Sling Media introduced Tuesday several new products and enhancements to its family of remote TV viewing tools.
The company, which like Dish is part of the EchoStar family, revealed its lowest-cost Slingbox to date, called the Slingbox M1, which replaces the Slingbox 350 and now includes Wi-Fi.
The company also revealed an update to the Slingbox 500 — now called SlingTV — that adds on certain smart-TV functionality, and announced a suite of updated PC/Mac and mobile device apps.
The Slingplayer desktop replaces the web-based player on PC/Mac and will be available first for Slingbox M1 customers, the company said.
Slingplayer systems for iPhone/iPad and Android phones are also being updated to work better with Roku and Apple TV and are said to include the ability “to configure your Slingbox on a mobile device.”
The spate of new Sling announcements follows a ruling this week from the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that in part denied Fox’s bid to halt Dish’s use of Slingbox technology in its Hopper whole-home DVRs through the Dish Anywhere feature.
Both the Slingbox M1 and SlingTV are positioned as retail products designed to deliver a customer’s pay-TV channels and programs (live or recorded) from the living room to mobile devices in up to HD quality.
Unlike Aereo, which recently lost a Supreme Court ruling for facilitating the viewing on mobile devices of over-the-air broadcast TV channels taken from a subscription-based Cloud service and antenna-based receiving equipment, the Sling products allow owners to view broadcast programs they subscribe to through a pay-TV service, which in turn pays broadcasters for retransmission rights.
The Slingbox M1 carries a $149 suggested retail and targets mainstream users “who want to have remote access to all of their home TV channels and shows as well as access to DVR content on personal computers, tablets and phones,” according to the company.
The Slingbox M1 is compact and integrates Wi-Fi for simple network connectivity. It also utilizes the new Slingplayer for Desktop app for PCs and Macs, which is said to “dramatically improve setup and configuration.” Setup is said to take less than 10 minutes.
The Slingbox M1 can be configured with a mobile device via the Slingplayer app for iPhone and iPad as well as Android-based phones.
Key features include dual-band 2.4/5Ghz Wi-Fi connectivity and Ethernet port; no monthly fees; remote TV viewing and control via a tablet, phone, PC or Mac; easy-to-use iPhone, iPad and Android phone apps; the ability to watch shows on a second TV via an Apple TV or Roku device; and component and composite input/outputs.
Meanwhile, the newly named SlingTV ($300 suggested retail) now adds additional “Smarter TV” features to the former Slingbox 500 hardware. SlingTV enables viewing programs from the living room (live or recorded) on a laptop or desktop personal computer, tablet or phone anywhere in the world where a network connection is available.
New smart-TV features include an integrated electronic programming guide (EPG) that utilizes cover-art tiles similar to Slingplayer for iPad’s Media Gallery.
The new interface provides recommendations powered by SlingCloud, the company’s Cloud-based analytics platform that analyzes popularity, reviews and social activity.
Key SlingTV features include an onscreen TV main menu powered by the included SlingTV remote; soft remote built into Slingplayer for iPhone or Android phone apps; Gallery View visual interface; Rotten Tomatoes ratings for all movies in the movies filter; big-screen TV scoreboard and channel guide; integrated Thuuz excitement ratings alerting viewers when to tune in a game based on the score; and movie and TV episode details.
Slingbox M1 will be available in retail stores, through Sling.com and online partners on July 20. SlingTV will be available in late August. Existing Slingbox 500 customers will automatically receive the SlingTV software upgrade for free at that time as well. Sling Media’s retail partners include Best Buy, TigerDirect and Amazon.com.