The path breaking 'place shifting' Slingbox is finally offered in India -- where it was crafted for the world-- 7 years ago.
Vishnu Anand reports from Bangalore, on the 'homecoming'
Flashback to Christmas 2005: A device which enabled users to 'shift' their television viewing capabilities to any device -- laptop or desktop -- became the biggest gift idea of the holiday season in the US. Using your home internet network to stream your television content on any device, even as you sit in a different corner of the world, was what Sling Media's Slingbox allowed you to do.
Enabled by Sling Cloud Services, the Slingbox is an additional box which sits 'between' your television set top box and wireless router. Through an encrypted stream, Slingbox allows you to connect to the Sling Media website where a virtual image of your set top box remote controller pops up and allows you to surf the channels of your choice -- the only requisite being the fact that the set top box needs to be kept in power on position. In the years since, Slingbox with its distinctive shape -- like a bar of gold bullion-- has rermained a global market leader in the TV and video place shifting space.
Finally this week, the makers are launching it in the country where Slingbox was conceived and created -- India.
Here , Sling Media seems to be targeting the travelling executive. "The number of IT professionals travelling out of the country and likely to miss their Bollywood movies, cricket telecasts and mushy soap operas is amazingly high. We are hoping to give them a piece of their living room wherever they go", said Raghu Tarra, Managing Director of Sling Media to India Tech Online.
Currently, two models of the Slingbox -- the Standard Definition entry level Slingbox 120 (priced at Rs.7,999) and the Slingbox Pro HD (priced at Rs. 14,999) have been launched in India. The Pro HD version allows you to have 4 inputs -- the laptop, home security camera feeds, DVD players and television feed -- besides proving HD quality streaming content. Slingbox will be initially available in large format retailers such as Croma, Reliance Digital, and the online store Flipkart.com across Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and NCR. The company also has plans to further expand its operations to the cities of Ahmedabad, Pune and Chennai.
Bhupen Shah, Founder and CTO said,"We are confident that the growth and acceptance of 3G networks will fuel our mobile product which works currently on the iPhone, the iPad, and Android devices. For our regular offerings, Indian broadband speeds are sufficiently 'mature' to get uninterrupted streams."
Product and company brief:
Founded in 2004, Sling Media, Inc. is the leading provider of video placeshifting products and services for consumers and television service providers. Sling Media's flagship product, the internationally-acclaimed, Emmy award-winning Slingbox, transforms the way consumers watch television—allowing consumers to watch their home TV on any Internet-connected PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone—from virtually anywhere in the world.
• June 2005: the first Slingbox launched to critical acclaim in the US retail market.
• August 2006: the Slingbox product line expands with the launch of the Slingbox PRO. International expansion also begins - with the opening of offices in the UK - signaling the introduction of the Slingbox to the European market.
• Also in 2006: Sling Media unveiled SlingPlayer Mobile™—and for the first time ever, consumers can now enjoy watching all of their home TV content on a mobile phone.
• September 2007: The third generation of the Slingbox launched in with the introduction of the Slingbox SOLO. Sling Media and the Slingbox and SlingPlayer product families receive numerous awards and recognition over the years, spanning innovation, engineering and design.
• October 2007: Sling Media acquired by EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS) and becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Colorado based television technology provider.
• September 2008: Sling Media launches its fourth generation Slingbox, the PRO-HD, brings true HD streaming to customers who have a high-definition TV source and a sufficient high speed broadband connection at home.
• 2009: Sling Media launched SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone, triggering a massive growth in consumers watching television on mobile devices with larger screens.
• January 2010: Sling Media unveils the Sling Receiver 300 and the Slingbox 700U, both designed to help television service providers deliver “TV Everywhere” to their customers. The Slingbox 700U—the smallest Slingbox ever—is awarded a Gold Award and Best in Show at the 2010 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA®) competition.
• June 2010: Sling Media continues to expand the SlingPlayer Mobile product line, introducing SlingPlayer Mobile for Android, and later that year SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad and Windows Phone 7 smartphones, rapidly increasing the numbers of consumers able to enjoy their home TV on new mobile platforms with unmatched quality.
• April 2011: Slingbox becomes available in the country where it was created – India.
• Sling Media product line today is distributed direct to consumers in over 5,000 retail stores in 20 countries, and to several television service providers in North America, Europe and Asia. SlingBox India is headquartered in Bangalore.
How the Slingbox works
The Slingbox fits neatly into a consumer’s existing TV and network infrastructure. All that is required is a video source providing TV-based entertainment – either cable, satellite TV, or a DVR – and a home router. A broadband network connection is required only if you want to use the Slingbox to view your video source from outside your home. The four simple steps, makes the Slingbox ready for use.
1. Connect the TV source to the Slingbox.
2. Connect the Slingbox to your home network router.
3. Plug in the Slingbox power adapter.
4. Install Sling Media’s software application, the SlingPlayer™.
• http://www.slingmedia.com/go/media April 12 2011