The feature, which EchoStar’s Sling Media launched Wednesday, uses Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming technology to deliver video from the SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone and iPad to the set-top. That lets customers with Apple TVs sling live TV or DVR programs to a second TV inside the home without needing an additional set-top from their pay TV provider — or to a remote TV somewhere else, over the Internet.
Startup Aereo, whose service streams broadcast TV online in several markets, also can connect to Apple TV via AirPlay. Aereo is being sued for copyright infringement by major broadcasters, which have appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Separately, Fox has unsuccessfully tried to shut down Dish’s Slingbox-enabled set-tops, arguing that the place-shifting violates terms of their distribution agreement. Sling itself has not been the subject of any legal challenges.
In addition, Sling added the Blockbuster On Demand video service to the Slingbox 500, to let users search, browse, view trailers and rent premium movies for viewing on their big-screen TV. Dish Network acquired Blockbuster in 2011; EchoStar Communications bought Sling Media in 2007, prior to Dish and EchoStar splitting into separate companies.
Sling began rolling out updates to Slingbox customers automatically on Wednesday. The AirPlay feature is available for Slingbox 500, Slingbox 350, Slingbox Pro-HD and Slingbox Solo devices.
The Slingbox 500 also now lets users access personal photos and videos stored on a USB drive attached to the device through the SlingPlayer client software. The feature is available first on PCs and Macs, with support for SlingPlayer for iOS and Android tablets and smartphones pending.
SlingPlayer for Web has also been updated to support Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Internet Explorer 11, as well as Apple OS X Mavericks and Safari 7.