EchoStar has officially announced a cable-ready version of its SlingLoaded DVR. Except for the fact that it's designed to work on any Tru2way-compatible cable system, the EchoStar T2200S will not be that different from the Dish Network ViP922, which snagged the Best of CES Home Video award at January's 2009 Consumer Electronics Show.
Like the ViP922, the EchoStar T2200S offers a laundry list of features we'd expect from a high-def DVR, including a 1TB hard drive and dual-tuner support. But EchoStar is also boasting of a built-in DOCSIS cable modem, MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) compatibility, and integrated SlingGuide programming search engine--all of that in addition to the built-in Slingbox functionality, which would allow users to access live and recorded programming via a wide range of Windows and Mac computers and smartphones (including many Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Blackberry models, with an iPhone client said to be coming soon).
EchoStar's release says that the T2200S will be "available for testing" by June 2009, with a fourth quarter rollout projected. That means it'll probably be 2010 before this product sees the light of day. While a consumer CableCard version--one you could buy off-the-shelf at Best Buy or Amazon--would likely be prohibitively expensive, it's possible that customers could lease a unit from their local cable provider (an "MSO," in industry parlance) with significantly less up-front cost. As always, the devil's in the details--but we love the idea that a SlingLoaded DVR would be available to cable viewers, not just Dish Network subscribers.