Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sling Introduces Hi-Def Slingbox, Demos BlackBerry Player

Slingbox Pro HD


An HD Slingbox? Finally! And why not on your BlackBerry, too?

CES 2008 Coverage

LAS VEGAS—If you're a road warrior lucky enough to have a Verizon FiOS Internet connection, listen up. Sling Media plans two announcements at this year's CES aimed directly at you.

Sling Media plans to show off the long-awaited Sling Player for Blackberries at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, along with a new version of their Slingbox that pushes high-definition video to anywhere in the world, provided you have enough bandwidth.

The Slingbox is a popular gadget which captures what's showing on your home television and "slings" the video to a computer, another TV or a mobile device through the Internet. While the current Slingbox Pro model can handle HD input, it can't sling video back out as HD. In 2006, the company even said it had no plans to offer HD sligning.

The new $399 Slingbox Pro HD, coming in August, can transmit 1080i and 720p video – provided you have the bandwidth. The box needs 6-8 Mbits/s of uninterrupted uplink bandwidth to transmit 1080i programming – which for most people, restricts transmitting video to inside their homes. Verizon FiOS users, on the other hand, will be able to sling high-def to anywhere in the world with sufficient downstream bandwidth.

"It's the first Slingbox that actually preserves the full integrity of a 1080i signal and transmits it around the home or around a LAN," said Rich Buchanan, Sling's vice president of marketing. "If you're lucky enough to have a high enough upstream capability, you'll be able to move full 1080i content to a third location outside your home."

The Pro HD will connect to your TV with an analog component video connection. The popular digital HDMI cables have a built-in copy protection system, HDCP, which prevents further slinging of video elsewhere on the Internet.

Windows Mobile, Palm and Symbian users have been able to watch Sling video for quite some time now, but Blackberry users have been frozen out because of the BlackBerry's inability to handle streaming video. That's coming to an end – but not quite yet. Sling will show their new Sling Player Mobile for BlackBerry running on a BlackBerry 8120, a Pearl-style Blackberry with Wi-Fi and an updated operating system. On future devices, the new player will play 320x240 video at 25-30 frames per second, Buchanan said.

The player runs best over Wi-Fi, but doesn't require Wi-Fi – it could even run on BlackBerries with the relatively slow EDGE network. Whether the player will require a hardware or just a software upgrade to Blackberries is still up in the air, Buchanan said. But one thing is clear: the player is coming soon, just not now.

"We're working in earnest alongside RIM to make this all happen as rapidly as possible," Buchanan said.,2704,2243646,00.asp

CES In Pictures: LG's Stylish HDTVs and Other Electronics

From TVs to burners, gadgets and mobile prototypes, everything shows a clean yet pragmatic design.

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LG40 HDTV: Color Accents for the Home

LG today unveiled at CES a slew of new products across a variety of consumer electronics categories. One consistent theme across LG's product line: design. We mean design both as it relates to physical aesthetics, and design as it relates to ease of use. Here's one such example: LG's 32-inch LCD HDTV, the LG40. The LG40 has stylish accents, including a curved pedestal and red front-drop bezel. Ideal for the bedroom, home office, or den, this model helps eliminate clutter with its built-in side-mounted, slot-loading DVD player. The drive boasts three HDMI 1.3 ports with Deep Color support, LG's Clear Voice technology to enhance voice dialogue, and LG's SimpLink connectivity to control other LG equipment. See our ongoing CES coverage at -- By Melissa J. Perenson,141061-c,ces/article.html