Slingbox, the original place-shifting remote viewing device, is now available in the UK. Priced at 180 pounds from PC World, the unit allows owners to watch their own TV content, either live via a Sky+ or PVR, anywhere in the world on a laptop or PC. According to Sling Media’s VP for Market Development, Jeremy Toeman, the company has spent months customizing the product for the UK market: “The UK is the most advanced digital TV territory in Europe, and we really wanted to get it right here before launching anywhere else in Europe,” he said.
The UK version of the Slingbox has an integrated Freeview digital tuner, allowing digital TV to be streamed to PCs and laptops. Supplied with a IR blaster to control other devices, it also comes pre-programmed with the controls for a range of Freeview, digital cable and satellite set top boxes from Sky, Homechoice, NTL and Telewest.
The Slingbox software has also been upgraded to provide native 16:9 widescreen support, enhanced favourite channels organization and the ability to customize the look and feel of the interface with a range of pre-installed or user-created skins. Although initially available for Windows only, Mac support is promised later this year.
“The launch of the Slingbox into the UK market and ultimately to the European consumer is a significant milestone for Sling Media as we continue to build a worldwide footprint and deliver the same customer experience internationally that we do today for customers in the United States and Canada,” said Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media. “We are also excited about the timing of the launch with the World Cup. When the game is on, England fans with a Slingbox can watch from no matter where they are: halfway around the world, stuck at work or simply around the home.”
Sling Media says it is unconcerned about the launch of Sony’s rival Location Free product, which offers similar place-shifting functionality. “Honestly, we are not worried. In many ways having Sony in our space validates the concept for us. And Slingbox is cheaper and more versatile,” declares Toeman.