Sling Media Intros Two Models, SlingTV and Slingbox M1
Sling Media is freshening up its line with two models -- the SlingTV and Slingbox M1 -- that replace the previous Slingbox 500 and 350 models. With this refresh, Sling aims to make program discovery easier and take the place of a set-top box.
The SlingTV ($299.99; below) is the higher-end of the two. Built on Slingbox 500 hardware and with the same swooping physical design, it not only provides streaming access to live or recorded pay TV programs, but adds discovery features meant to equal those on connected TVs or set-top boxes. The electronic program guide (EPG) uses a tile interface designed to help viewers find new programs they'll enjoy. It offers recommendations powered by the company's SlingCloud analytics platform, which looks at popularity, reviews, and social network buzz.
The Slingbox M1 lists for $149.99, making it the lowest price Sling model ever. Owners can enjoy remote access to their channels, and can use DVR-style controls when remotely viewing content. The M1 can connect to a home network via Wi-Fi. The company promises a 10-minute setup thanks to the Slingplayer for Desktop app for Windows or Mac computers. Owners can also use the Slingplayer iOS or Android apps to configure the M1.
The SlingTV will be available in late August, while the M1 will be in stores on July 20. Slingbox 500 owners will automatically get a SlingTV software upgrade.
Accessing live and saved videos should be easier, thanks to free mobile device apps and set-up assistance via Skype.
The revised app includes split-screen viewing, social network support, and live sports stats. A Windows app is in the works.
Cable operators, satellite broadcasters, and content owners have been reluctant to work with mobile devices, but the industry is at last turning a corner.
Owners no longer need to rely on Ethernet connections to connect a Slingbox, and can now share photos from smartphones.