Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Reverse Slingbox sends video to TVs

This is a preview, not a review.
Sling Media, known for its Slingbox that enables people to placeshift their favorite TV programming to a PC, Mac or cellphone anywhere in the world, is reversing direction of the media flow with its new SlingCatcher.

Introduced at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show, SlingCatcher is designed to send video and audio to a television.

The SlingProjector application – bundled with every SlingCatcher – takes a new approach to bringing web and PC-based content to the television by enabling people to wirelessly project any web site or digital audio/video format onto their TV.

The expected primary purpose is to send web or PC-based content from a laptop or desktop to a TV. Downloaded long form content such as movies and shows are appropriate for the “lean back” nature of the home TV experience, according to Sling. Additionally, short form content such as funny videos, music services and home movies/pictures lend themselves very nicely to social gatherings around a big-screen TV.

The SlingCatcher also has the ability to download or stream content directly from the Internet and display it on a TV without the need for a PC to serve the content. Sling is currently discussing partnership opportunities with content owners to create and deliver their offerings directly to the TV via the SlingCatcher. The add-on storage capability (via a hard drive attachment) could be utilized for direct delivery of such content.

The SlingCatcher includes both standard definition and high definition AV outputs to connect to a TV, including HDMI, Component, S-Video and Composite video, as well as analog and digital audio. For network connectivity, the SlingCatcher features both integrated wireless and a standard Ethernet jack. SlingCatcher will be available by the middle of this year and the company expects the price to be under $200. SlingCatcher has competition: Apple's new iTV can send videos wirelessly from a computer to a TV like SlingCatcher, but has a 40GB hard drive to store up to 50 hours of video and costs 99 bucks more.

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