Foster City, Calif. – EchoStar subsidiary Sling Media is replacing its opening-price $149 Slingbox M1 with the $199 M2, which offers the M1’s features but adds free unlimited downloads of the Slingplayer app.
Sling Media is now also providing free live-video setup and installation assistance with a purchase.
Sling Media’s place-shifting settop boxes give consumers remote access to their home’s pay-TV channels and DVR content from Internet-connected computers, tablets and smartphones that run a Slingplayer app. The app also lets users remotely schedule DVR recordings.
The Slingplayer app previously cost $15 per download, but with the average household having at least five connected devices, customers would pay $75 to put the app on every device, a spokesperson told TWICE. “With the M2 bundle, you pay a one-time fee for the hardware and then have unlimited access to as many free app downloads as you want.”
The new app, however, will display ads, but Mark Vena, Sling Media’s VP of worldwide marketing, said they will be implemented in a “highly unobtrusive manner” to keep the viewing experience “as clean as possible.” Users “will see a pre-roll ad when they fire up the apps, and ads will also appear in the app viewing window, but no ads will be placed on top of the video itself,” he said. Display ads will disappear completely when video is displayed in full-screen mode.
Free live video setup assistance has been added because customers “had difficulty with initial setup,” the spokesperson said. Live video assistance will be performed through Skype. In the user setup guide provided with the M2, users will be given Slingbox’s support contact information to dial.
Separately, the company said it will also offer unlimited app downloads for its current $299 Slingbox 500 without increasing its price. The 500 offers the place-shifting capabilities of the M1 and M2 but adds additional in-home services such as live sports-score and sports-stats streaming, an on-TV program guide with artwork, Blockbuster On Demand video-streaming service, and integrated YouTube.
Slingboxes connect to a pay-TV providers’ settop box via composite- and component-video inputs to redirect video in up to 1080p via embedded Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet. All models let users stream pay-TV content to a second TV inside or outside the home if the second TV is connected to an Apple TV, Fire TV, or Roku TV settop box.
M2 is available at such retailers as Best Buy and Amazon Marketplace as well as at www.slingbox.com.