Slingbox Finds a Home at Work

With the launch in Canada this month of the Slingbox Pro HD and the Slingcatcher, Sling Media is deepening its penetration of Canadian living rooms. While that's still its bread and butter, the company says they're seeing increasingly innovative enterprise opportunities they'll need the channel's help to leverage.

Based in Foster City, Calif., Sling Media is best known for the Slingbox, which allows someone to watch their home television anywhere in the world via an Internet-connected laptop. The Slingbox sits near the television, connecting to either the digital cable box via different video outputs or directly into the coaxial cable, and also connects into your Internet router. Through a Web connection and a computer, either at home or on the road, someone can control and watch their television as if they were at home.

While it hasn't been a focus for the company, Sling Media spokesperson Brian Jaquet says they're seeing more and more of their products being used in an enterprise environment.

Companies are connecting a Slingbox to cameras to monitor traffic and weather conditions. Video studios are using Slingboxes to stream production dailies back to their studios, rather than having to upload and download files via FTP. And Jacquet says television news crews are also using Slingboxes in the field as an alternative to satellite trucks.

"This has all happened organically," said Jaquet. "We've started to intensify our business development efforts around more vertical applications, and we're not opposed to working with partners that could take our products into these new areas."

Sling Media recently launched its two newest products through the Canadian retail channel: the Slingbox Pro HD and the Slingcatcher. Both are available now at Future Shop, Best Buy, London Drugs and other select Canadian retailers.

The Slingbox Pro HD, the company's new high-end offering, allows for the transmission of true HD-quality video to HD compatible notebooks and desktops. Jaquet said while previous models could upload HD streams it would be down converted on transmission. Now users can get a true HD experience. More bandwidth isn't being used because the HD signal was still uploaded before; but now the improved processing power of the Pro HD allows that HD signal to be maintained and streamed.

"It's a huge step in terms of performance, and it's probably the biggest leap in performance since we came out with the original product," said Jaquet.

Also launched in Canadian stores this month is the Slingcatcher. Paired with a Slingbox, this device allows someone to "placeshift" their TV signal to another TV in the home. And without a Slingbox, the Slingcatcher can stream video from a computer or laptop wirelessly to a television, including YouTube and other Internet videos.

Both products are retailing for C$329.99 (US$274.83). In Canada, Slingmedia is represented by Keating Technologies and distributed through Ingram Micro.

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