Slingbox Hating Has Begun


It is an all familiar story – a new disruptive technology comes to market, and the established players start to get hot under the collar. TiVo’s time shifting technology was met with “this is not good” for the industry skepticism from television networks. Now it is the turn of Slingbox, which is pushing the concept of ‘place-shifting.’ It has generally been met with praise from most, and has garnered big money investments from the likes of Charlie Ergen and John Malone. Capitol Broadcasting President Jim Goodmon, however, thinks that Slingbox is illegal.

Goodmon suspects the Slingbox violates program copyright laws — and maybe retransmission-consent agreements — by enabling out-of-market viewing of network and syndicated content. “I have a deal with the cable system,” he says, “and they have retransmission consent for the cable system in this market. They don’t have it for everyplace else. They can’t do that; there’s no way that’s legal.”

The man has limited thinking powers – first of all he should be happy people want to watch “the content” from his channels, and that also includes advertisement from which he makes money. Secondly, it is as illegal as me taping a program, going across the country and watching the same show on my friend’s VCR. Anyway we should expect more of this mud-Slinging in coming days.

Staci has a lot more on this issue!



Most ISP’s have an upload limit. Won’t this device cause a huge spike in your upload activity. At 500kbs streaming video would use most of my upload room, and add up to a gig every 2000 seconds. That would only give you about 600 minutes of video a month, or about 20 minutes a day to stay under a 20 gig limit.

Rick Mahn

The root of the problem is that the current laws on the books never anticipated the technologies we enjoy today. I’m all for every company recieving the full revenue from their products. What bothers me is when large powerful companies attempt to leverage the power of outdated governmental laws & regulations when both the laws need to change, and the company needs to investigate new business opportunities and models. As technology changes, businesses & government need to adapt, not users & consumers!

Fine, if they want to take away my ability to enjoy the product/service they offer – then I don’t want their product/service. After all, I’m not that enamored with the quality anyway.


Agree or disagree with his thesis, saying Jim Goodmon “has limited thinking powers” is to not know the man. Not only has Jim amassed quite a fortune running Capital Broadcasting, one of the most valuable broadcasters in the nation, CBC is well-known for being literally first in a number of fields — first HDTV broadcaster, first online local news site, etc. I’d trade brains with him any day of the week!


It’s not an issue of illegal or legal, the issue is, does the contract that the subscriber has signed permit the activity. This is a matter of contract law, not copyright law.

I think where all of this starts to get sticky and there will be pushback is in the realm of premium sports packages which have very strict zip code based blackouts based on the networks contracts with the professional leagues.

Jesse Kopelman

I think you’re wrong Om. The Law is definitely against Slingbox. The Law is also definitely wrong. Hopefully, if the two colide it will be the Law that has to change.


What about new product from Monsoon Multimedia Inc. Hava box formally announced their “video placeshift” product.
Even though it was demonstrated it at CES this year.

In their Press Release Monsoon takes a direct swipe at Slingbox.

“Unlike other competing products such as the Slingbox™, HAVA does not require a wired connection to the router. HAVA substantially differentiates itself from other competitive products, by allowing users to watch video while being able to browse the internet or print, without having to relocate their Access point or changing their network. Moreover, HAVA is able to utilize its MPEG-2 streams to convert any PC or notebook with Media Center compatible software into a full Media Center PC, without having to add an additional TV Tuner, remote, IR Blaster etc. typically required for a complete Media Center experience”


thats just like saying that in my family, my dad pays for our cable, so he should be the only one allowed to watch it.


Slingbox was very careful to only allow “slinging” of the television content to a single user. In my book that is hardly a retransmission.

Om Malik

i am with you guys. this is one-to-one bouncing of television signal which we pay for. instead of watching it in the living room, we do it over the internet on our computer. no i am quite sure this one will stand up in the court of law. there is a lot of copy right protection built into the system.


i pay for it so why cant i watch it where i want when i want? its not as if you can have multiple users watching the same feed.

Rob Poitras

Even if it is illegal I cant think of a way for anyone to track if someone is using slingbox. It’s not like they are downloading a file from a file sharing site.


If you read the TOS of the various cable and satellite services it is clear that Slingbox puts the user in violation of the contract they signed with their provider. Furthermore, its use probably puts the cable/satellite operator in violation of the contracts they signed with their content providers. “Illegal” is the wrong word, but “breach of contract” is demonstrably accurate.

Now whether these TOS make sense in a modern world is a different discussion (I suspect we agree that the current TOS are obsolete).

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