On Thursday, Sling Media pushed out its latest innovation -- the SlingCatcher. The SlingCatcher lets customers watch online video from a diverse spectrum of sites on the Internet, including network television venues like ABC.com, video content sites like Hulu.com and CollegeHumor.com, community video sites like YouTube, and even online movie rentals from popular services like Netflix.
Here's the twist: The SlingCatcher lets consumers draw from all of those sites directly from a PC to the TV. Sling Media describes it as on-demand access to diverse video programming over the Internet that dwarfs linear programming that comes into homes from cable and satellite.
"Thousands of video programs are available for viewing online for free, but until now there hasn't been an easy way to watch them on a screen larger than your laptop computer," said Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media. "In addition, SlingCatcher will give Slingbox customers the ability to watch their home TV on another TV, something they have been asking for since we first introduced the original Slingbox in 2005."
SlingCatcher's Triple Play
The SlingCatcher comes with a remote control, and allows viewers to access and control any device connected to it. Specifically, SlingCatcher comes with three built-in applications: SlingPlayer for TV, SlingProjector, and My Media. It's a trio the company says combines to create a unified media platform that delivers content from disparate places for viewing on a single TV screen.
SlingPlayer for TV delivers one of the most-requested features from existing Slingbox customers: the ability to watch and control their living-room TV on another TV in the home, or on a TV in a remote location, without using a PC or custom cabling. For example, SlingCatcher can tap into a DVR, cable or satellite set-top box located in another room in the house, or even from a Slingbox in a remote location.
The SlingProjector software lets consumers project any of this programming directly onto their TV via the SlingCatcher. Using SlingProjector, customers can catch up on back episodes of their favorite TV programs without having to wait for them to air again, or they can sample new TV programs online before scheduling them on their DVR.
Finally, My Media gives customers the ability to play back on their TV a broad range of media files from a wide variety of sources, including camcorders, digital cameras, personal DVD recordings, and Internet video downloads. With My Media, customers can play their favorite videos from their own personal media libraries using an external USB hard drive or flash drive that they connect to one of the SlingCatcher's two USB ports.
"What's nice about the SlingCatcher is that it enables you to watch anything that streams. So you can watch anything from YouTube, as an example, or Hulu," said Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media.
"I don't know of anybody else who enables this. Apple TV doesn't. Amazon video on demand doesn't and TiVo doesn't," he continued. "This is a significant advance."
The SlingCatcher is available now for $299.99 from popular online retailers including Amazon.com and Buy.com, and will be on store shelves starting Thursday at Best Buy, Fry's Electronics, Microcenter and J&R.