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Sling to Debut PC-to-TV Box at CES

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Friday afternoon at Sling Media’s HQ in San Mateo, we got a look at a prototype for one of the first entrants in the bring-Internet-video-to-the-TV race: The SlingCatcher, a sort of Slingbox-in-reverse that should hit the retail shelves sometime this summer, priced at $200 or less.

Handling it quite literally with kid gloves (OK, they were cotton gloves so he didn’t scratch the surface), Sling’s PR director Brian Jaquet lifted the device out of a box and showed it off — with component ports as well as S-video, HDMI and a couple USB ports, as well as Ethernet, the SlingCatcher is ready to sit between your PC and your big screen, to bring those grainy YouTube clips (or maybe something higher definition) to the living room. The unit, about half the size of a basic Slingbox, also has a hard drive on the bottom of the unit, with a USB port for local storage.

While all the details (including the name, which might change between now and then) won’t be revealed until a press conference in Las Vegas Sunday night, the Sling folks gave us a green light to talk now; according to Jamie Odell, Sling’s VP of product marketing, the SlingCatcher is different from other digital media servers because it just relays whatever is on your PC screen to your TV, without file conversions.

“It works completely independent of how the media was encoded,” Odell said of the SlingCatcher, “so you don’t have to worry about what file format it is.” Though it’s not a wireless router, the SlingCatcher will have wireless support, so you can send material via your local WiFi net. It also works with a regular Slingbox to let you send a cable signal or DVR material from one TV to another in your house, or at a remote location — so instead of watching those movies on the road on your laptop, by carrying around a SlingCatcher you could instead watch them on the hotel or condo’s TV.

Sling has a couple other tricks up its sleeve, which we should hear about tomorrow night, so stay tuned.

15 Responses to “Sling to Debut PC-to-TV Box at CES”

  1. Jesse Kopelman

    Yes, there are many ways to connect a PC directly to a TV, that is not the issue. The issue is doing this with the two in completely different rooms and still having a usable remote control interface. If Sling Catcher can do that, it will be well worth $200.

  2. StillLeavingVHS

    My nVidia card has s-video (and DVI of course) outs that I connect directly to my TV for the price of $0 (I already had the $9 cable). With the right settings in the driver it goes full-screen on the TV whenever appropriate. How much easier can it get?

  3. Note, the SlingCatcher will not be able to Sling HD content from a SlingBox in HD. The SlingBox PRO accepts HD signals, but it only sends 640×480 max (even with the HD connection adapter). Therefore, content goes in from a SlingBox as HD, but comes out at the SlingCatcher as SD.

    I don’t know what the story will be for catching content from a PC, but there are significant bandwidth issues that, in my mind, make it unlikely to be a better story.

  4. All the hype around internet tv and mobile tv starts to get a little bit annoying.
    3 day ago I got a Venice Project invitation. I tried and… well, in fact it’s still just TV.
    I stopped watching TV, because it’s dumb. I don’t need interactive version of cheap and dumb shows and series.

    I want first class movies and series and I’m willing to pay.

  5. I got your article from buzz machine and I think Sling has the right idea for an industry changing phenonmenon. I doubt I will see much more at CES tonight, or at MacExpo this week – my money is on simplicity of service and user interface. It is why I love Tivo and have my fingers crossed that Sling will match cool tech with cool experience. Of course a 7.2 MB wireless broadband play – the wireless Internet straight to your box is the real way to go.

  6. Uh, right. Isn’t this iTV (aka Front Row, Airport AV, or whatever it will be called on Tuesday)? Granted it appears to have some connections that iTV doesn’t (like S-video, but why would you use S anyway?), but I’ll go with Apple, since most of my digital media is in iTunes anyway. The best thing about this, I suppose, is that it appears to be priced about $100 less than Apple’s iTV, so perhaps it will help drive price down within 6-12 months.