Introducing SlingTV!

SlingTV_galleryAll_InTVHere at Sling, you know we’re all about placeshifting. Letting you watch your home TV on any device anywhere is what we do. Of course we still do that, but as of today, we’re improving your home viewing as well. We’re excited to announce SlingTV — our first product that focuses just as much on the living room experience as the mobile one.

So what does SlingTV do? First of all, it gives you access to your cable or satellite programming, live or recorded, in up to HD quality, anywhere in the world with a network connection. But you knew that already. What it also does is turn your big screen at home into a “Smarter TV” that lets you navigate through a vibrant programming Gallery, similar in appearance to what we’ve deployed on Slingplayer for iPad. The Gallery view provides recommendations based on SlingCloud (our proprietary analytics platform that takes into account popularity, reviews and social activity), and lets you filter your favorite channels and types of shows, displays Rotten Tomatoes ratings next to movies, displays an on-screen sports scoreboard and channel guide for professional and college sports, provides detailed real-time stats for fantasy sports owners, and more.

SlingTV replaces the Slingbox 500, but if already have a 500, don’t worry — the SlingTV software upgrade is currently being rolled out for FREE (in marketing we love to capitalize that word so you don’t miss it) and Slingbox 500 and SlingTV is the same hardware. If you haven’t received it yet, you will by next week. New SlingTV purchasers will receive the SlingTV experience automatically upon initial setup.

One quick hardware note — in order to access the SlingTV features, you have to have your set-top box connected to the SlingTV or Slingbox 500 with both HDMI and component (red/green/blue) cables, and your SlingTV connected to your TV via HDMI.

We hope you enjoy SlingTV as much as we think you will!

Top 10 most watched of the week: Big Brother tops entertainment, NFL dominates sports

Your 10 most watched programs of the week on Sling, non-sports edition, were as follows. Check after the list for a few quick thoughts on this week’s most streamed home entertainment:

  1. Big Brother
  2. Keeping Up with the Kardashians
  3. Today
  4. El Señor de los Cielos
  5. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  6. Bachelor in Paradise
  7. Criminal Minds
  8. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta
  9. The Simpsons
  10. SpongeBob SquarePants

As the summer starts to wrap up, we’re still seeing plenty of reality series on the top 10, and none appear to be as popular as the venerable Orwell-inspired behemoth which is currently airing its 16th (U.S.) season. The entire-run-of-The Simpsons event on FXX is over, but its reruns continue to be popular with Sling owners. And lately there’s been no stopping El Señor de los Cielos, the Univision telenovela about a Mexican drug lord, from earning a spot on this list.

As for the sports side, the NFL’s debut weekend certainly made its presence felt on the top 10:

  1. NFL: Packers vs. Seahawks
  2. NFL: 49ers vs. Cowboys
  3. NFL: Colts vs. Broncos
  4. CFB: USC vs. Stanford
  5. NFL: Giants vs. Lions
  6. CFB: Michigan vs. Notre Dame
  7. U.S. Open Tennis
  8. SportsCenter
  9. NFL: Saints vs. Falcons
  10. NFL: Chargers vs. Cardinals

Not much to say here — the demand to watch pro football live is huge, and all those who want to watch the NFL live on their phone, tablet, laptop or anywhere else ensure that lots of people will be watching via Sling. It’s nice to see Saints vs. Falcons sneak into the top 10, considering it was the clear most exciting game of the weekend according to the algorithmic metrics of Thuuz.

 

Saints-Falcons and Kansas State-Iowa State were the weekend’s most exciting games, as measured by Thuuz

With the NFL starting up and college football already in full swing, we just saw 2014’s first full weekend of good ol’ gridiron action. We hope you enjoyed it if you were watching via Sling or otherwise — but were you definitely watching the most exciting games you could be?

Of course, your viewing priority might be just to watch your favorite teams. But if you’re the type of fan who flips around looking for the most intriguing matchups, exhilarating back-and-forth action and thrilling finishes, there’s an app that uses SCIENCE to help you do that more effectively.

It’s called Thuuz (pronounced like the second syllable in “enthuse”). It uses a proprietary algorithm, which takes into account game data and social media signals, to give sports contests a real-time “Excitement Rating.” Thuuz’s app, which is free on iOS or Android, includes Sling deep-linking — meaning you can identify exciting games on Thuuz and then open them on your Slingplayer app with one click. You also can customize Thuuz to alert you whenever games pass a certain Excitement Rating threshold. In addition, Thuuz (for NFL and college football, NBA and college basketball, MLB and NHL) is integrated into Slingplayer for iPad as well as the upcoming SlingTV.

In addition to real-time ratings that change constantly as games are in progress, Thuuz also provides pre- and post-game Excitement Ratings, and the latter gives us interesting insights into which were the best games to be watching over the weekend.

On the pro side, the Falcons’ 37-34 win over the Saints — in which Matt Ryan threw for 448 yards and Matt Bryant kicked field goals of 50+ yards to both tie the game as time expired and win the game in OT — was rated a maximum 100 by Thuuz. (According to Thuuz’s metrics, 85-100 indicates a game is great, 65-84 means it’s good, 40-64 is OK, and 0 to 39 is dull.) Other great games included Bengals-Ravens (96) and Colts-Broncos (92). On the flip side, unless you’re a Minnesota fan or a Cordarrelle Patterson fantasy owner, you probably didn’t enjoy the Vikings-Rams contest which rated a paltry 6.

You can check out graphs of every game’s excitement profile by clicking this image:

thuuz-nfl-9-8

As for the college ranks, the highest scorer from Saturday was the Big 12 throwdown between Kansas State and Iowa State, in which the Wildcats’ 15-point comeback produced a 93 Excitement Rating. Other great college games included USC-Stanford (90) and Buffalo-Army (88). Graphs of the 16 best NCAA games’ excitement profiles are here:

thuuz-ncaaf-9-8

 

We’ll check in on Excitement Ratings as the football season continues, and we hope you’ll find Thuuz as interesting and useful as we do.

 

SlingTV Deployment Update

Since it was first announced in mid-July with Slingbox M1, we’ve been telling you a lot about our most complete TV anywhere experience, SlingTV, and how it’s coming very soon to both new customers as well as existing Slingbox 500 customers as a FREE software upgrade.

That’s still true — however, if you’re reading this now, you know that we have not quite made good on our end of August deployment as stated when first announced. We have already begun slowly deploying the SlingTV software to existing Slingbox 500 customers to ensure a robust, high quality release to the entire population of Slingbox 500 owners.

We would never want to release a product that didn’t deliver on the promised experience. Rest assured our engineering team is hard at work making sure SlingTV meets our customers’ highest expectations. We will update everyone again when we have fully deployed the upgrade. Thanks for your patience — we’re working hard to make sure it’s rewarded.

Product Alert for Slingbox 500

Dear Sling Customer,

We are always measuring how new and existing features are used by our customers across the PC/Mac, tablet and smartphone platforms we support with our Sling products. We do this to determine whether they are integral, on-going components of the Sling experience that need to be supported and improved with each software update to the products. To this end, we have decided to remove the My Media features that can be found on Slingbox 500/SlingTV.

This includes the ability to play personal photos and videos on your TV straight from your iPhone or Android phone and the ability to playback content from a USB hard drive that is connected to the Slingbox 500/SlingTV. It also includes support for My Media placeshifting feature that was available for iPhone, Android phone and our web-based Slingplayer for PC/Mac on watch.slingbox.com.

Starting today My Media features are no longer supported and will be removed from the Slingbox 500/SlingTV hardware and corresponding supported mobile platforms over the course of the next few months. After that customers will no longer be able to utilize this feature across the listed Sling products and mobile platforms. If you have a USB flash drive (or Hard Drive) attached to your Slingbox 500/SlingTV, please eject it properly to preserve your stored content.

As always Sling’s focus is to deliver a best in class experience with all of our products and services and you will continue to see great innovation from Sling moving forward – as our customers have come to expect.

Thank you!

Your Sling Team

Sling. It’s On!

We’ve had a busy month here at Sling with the announcement of  Slingbox M1 and SlingTV and as we approach Fall and get ready to ship SlingTV, it’s about to get much busier.

The NFL and College Football seasons are right around the corner and we know how much our customers love having access to their favorite teams on Saturdays and Sundays, whether it’s around the house, around town or halfway across the world. The Slingbox M1 is our most affordable, easy to use, easy to set-up Slingbox model we’ve ever introduced and with built-in WiFi, it gives customers no-strings attached access to all their programming, on any device, anywhere. In fact, Slingbox M1 was just included in a segment on the Today Show. Check us out at the 5:05 minute mark.

http://www.today.com/video/today/55843983#55843983

SlingTV, which is scheduled to be available at the end of August, brings powerful new features into the living room. Customers will have access to real-time stats and a full list of games currently being televised and more importantly on what channels. In addition, the visual interface of SlingTV makes it simple to easily discover what’s on TV and filter by movies, TV shows, kids programming or sporting events and navigate to a program with a click of a button on the SlingTV remote. Slingbox 500 customers will get a free upgrade to SlingTV when it becomes available later this month.

To mark the launch of these new products we created a new slogan: Sling. It’s On! We also introduced a new logo and a completely re-designed website, http://www.sling.com. What’s more, we created what we call our ‘Anthem’ video, which we’ve also turned into a TV commercial that’s running on cable TV in select markets nationwide.

We’d love to know what you think and better yet, what are some of your best uses of Sling?

As summer winds down, Sling is just revving up for the busy Fall season. It’s a wonderful time of year to be a fan of television and with a Slingbox you’ll never miss a moment, no matter where you are.

 

Sling Technology Powering TV Everywhere Services from Comporium and Service Electric

On the heels of our Slingbox M1 and SlingTV retail product announcements last week, we have news today from our partner, ARRIS, Inc. This morning ARRIS announced that Comporium and Service Electric, two U.S. cable operators, will deploy the MS4000™ Media Streamer to their ARRIS Whole Home Solution customers. This plug and play network transcoder is powered by Sling technology, giving customers access to live and recorded TV content on a variety of mobile devices both inside and outside the home.

Arris-Sling-gateway-MS4000-Front-AngleX-580x386

As you may know, Sling technology powers DISH Network’s Hopper with Sling set top box and last year Sling Media announced a partnership with ARRIS to deploy similar Sling-based solutions to their cable, telco and wireless customers both here in the U.S. and worldwide. We’re excited to see the first two operators make this powerful Sling product available to their customers.

You can read more about the Comporium and Service Electric announcements here: http://www.multichannel.com/news/tv-apps/two-operators-join-arris-s-sling-team/382701