Sling Media no longer wants to be put into a box--the theoretical kind, anyway.
Previously just a maker of hardware like the Slingbox, and related software, the company is now thinking bigger. With the official launch of Sling.com fast approaching, the small Silicon Valley company--bought last year by EchoStar--is making a bid to be taken seriously as an entertainment company.
Currently in private beta until November 24, Sling.com is a shiny new video portal that pulls in TV episodes, clips, full-length movies, and professionally produced Web videos to a single destination. The free content is provided by the NBC-Fox partnership Hulu, along with CBS (parent company of CBS Interactive, CNET's publisher), PBS, BBC America, and Web video sites like College Humor and Break.com, to name just a few. There are short ads before and during the videos.
Up until now, Sling had been mainly in the business of creating hardware and software that allow consumers to get their TV channels from remote devices.
The Slingbox, which allows owners to watch their own subscription TV channels remotely from a computer, marked the first introduction to Sling Media for many consumers. Then the company began releasing the SlingPlayer as downloadable software for Symbian, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile that lets Slingbox owners also get their TV channels on mobile phones. BlackBerry and iPhone versions are on the way.
Sling then turned from just moving TV to the Web, and began pushing the idea of moving Web video to the TV with its SlingCatcher product, which started shipping last month.
Now, by creating a new Web destination, the company is turning the Internet into yet another destination for its customers to watch the channels they subscribe to along with a host of free, ad-supported content. … Read more