Sling Media has announced that the first few models of the Slingbox won't work with new Sling software, including the much-anticipated SlingPlayer for iPhone.
The company, which is now owned by EchoStar, informed Slingbox owners on the Sling Media Web site Wednesday, saying that owners of the original Slingbox, Slingbox AV, and Slingbox Tuner were encouraged to upgrade to either a Slingbox Pro, Slingbox Pro-HD, or Slingbox Solo and that the company would offer those owning discontinued boxes a $50 discount to upgrade. (The Solo is the entry-level product and costs $180).
The notoriously vocal and tight-knit Sling community wasn't pleased, with more than 120 comments on the topic in the SlingCommunity.com forum as of this posting, most of which expressed disappointment and anger. Since the upgrade offer was actually posted Wednesday, many Sling owners mistook it for a prank.
"I just hope this is one sick April Fool's joke - if it is it's not very funny," wrote one member of SlingCommunity.com. Others chimed in with similar hope, until it became clear this was all rather serious.
While a Sling representative didn't immediately return a request for comment Thursday, the company did note in the same blog post that the older versions (Slingbox, AV, and Tuner) will still function normally on their own, but won't be able to take advantage of new services.