×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sling Media Unveils Cheaper Slingbox, Intros New TV Guide for Premium Place-Shifting Device

Place-shifting TV hasn’t been a raging success for EchoStar’s Sling Media, especially compared with DVRs. Its biggest base of customers has been sports enthusiasts, who want to watch their home teams in action while they’re on the road.

But now the device maker is introducing its lowest-cost Slingbox device to date, priced at $150, and launching a new on-screen guide for the new higher-end SlingTV model, in a bid to make the experience of watching pay-TV over the Internet on an array of devices simpler.

“We want to reach mainstream consumers — the moms in the family — with an enhanced living-room TV experience,” said Michael Hawkey, SVP and g.m. of Sling Media. The company positions the Slingbox as fully delivering on the promise of “TV Everywhere,” with not just live TV but DVR recordings and access to VOD as well. (EchoStar has not disclosed how many Slingbox units it has sold.)

Sling Media was acquired by EchoStar in 2007 for $380 million. At the time, EchoStar was the parent company of Dish Network (the two entities subsequently split) and the satcaster had expected place-shifting to be a breakthrough feature akin to DVR.

That never happened, but Dish has since incorporated Slingbox features into its Hopper DVR and says it’s a popular feature. Fox Broadcasting has launched a legal challenge to the place-shifting technology, arguing that it violates the broadcaster’s terms with Dish. But so far, Dish has consistently prevailed, winning its fifth legal victory in the case earlier this week in a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

EchoStar’s new Slingbox M1, with a retail price of $149.99, replaces the Slingbox 350. The new unit has a smaller form factor and includes integrated Wi-Fi. In addition, Sling is introducing the new Slingplayer for Desktop, software for Macs and PCs that it says improves setup and configuration to let users get up and running in less than 10 minutes.

The $300 SlingTV, meanwhile, replaces the Slingbox 500. The newer box has the same form factor as its predecessor, but includes new “Smarter TV” features with an electronic programming guide that uses cover-art tiles — similar to a TiVo. That’s supposed to let customers discover more of their existing pay-TV programming in an easy-to-navigate interface. “This is the only TV guide you need,” said Hawkey, noting that the guide provides content recommendations based on popularity, reviews and social activity.

EchoStar said the M1 will be available in retail stores, through Sling.com and online partners on July 20. The SlingTV is slated to be available in late August; existing Slingbox 500 customers will automatically receive the SlingTV software upgrade at that time as well.

More Digital

  • Gabrielle Union

    10 Things We Learned at Variety’s 2019 Entertainment Marketing Summit

    Variety’s 2019 Entertainment Marketing Summit, which brought top execs to Hollywood’s NeueHouse on Thursday, covered considerable ground. From cutting through the noise in an oversaturated media landscape to welcoming exciting technology like virtual reality, industry veterans offered insight into what to expect from the marketing world in coming years. Here are 10 things we learned [...]

  • Netflix iPhone mobile app

    Netflix Tries Out Mobile-Only Subscription Plan in India

    Streaming giant Netflix is testing a mobile-only subscription in India that costs half of its basic plan. Netflix India’s monthly plans begin at INR500 ($7.27). The mobile only plan is being trialled at INR250 ($3.63) per month. “We are always looking for ways to make Netflix more enjoyable and accessible,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. [...]

  • How Netflix Uses Technology: A Look

    How Netflix Wants to Take on Its Competition in 2019 and Beyond

    “They’re going to do some great shows. I’m going to be envious.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings practiced humility when he was asked about new competitors like Disney’s and Apple’s upcoming streaming services this week. “These are amazing, large, well-funded companies with very significant efforts,” he said. “But you do your best job when you have [...]

  • AVOD streaming video OTT users -

    Comcast Unveils 'Flex,' a Streaming Service for Internet Customers

    Comcast said it would unveil “Flex,” a hub for its Internet-only customers that allows them to stream and purchase shows and movies, the latest effort by a traditional cable provider to latch on to customers who are migrating to broadband services, The Philadelphia cable giant will also make free, ad-supported services available via the service, [...]

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime

    Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime Emmy Nomination

    Facebook is now in the awards hunt: Its popular original series “Red Table Talk” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith was nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy. It appears to be the first-ever Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for a Facebook-funded show, although a company rep was unable to confirm that. “Red Table Talk” is nominated in [...]

  • MLB-TV

    MLB.TV Joins Lineup on Amazon's Prime Video Channels

    Amazon has launched MLB.TV on Prime Video Channels for Prime members in the U.S., just in time for the start of Major League Baseball’s 2019 regular season start next week. The MLB.TV package provides regular-season out-of-market baseball games, both live and on-demand. Prime members in the U.S. can subscribe to MLB.TV for $24.99 per month, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content