September 5, 2007
Engadget has ferreted out the FCC approvals for the Slingbox Catcher and Slingbox SOLO. We’ve already heard a wee bit about the former when it was called the SlingCatcher — it will have Wi-Fi, an optional hard drive, and be able to receive Slingbox broadcasts, closing the loop on the Slingbox’ place-shifting capabilities. But, hmmm, what could this SOLO device be? Well, were I to speculate based slowly on the name, it might be one device that would encompass both transmission and reception capabilities. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
If so, and Sling has added digital media receiver (aka, Apple TV) capabilities to both devices, it will have effectively conquered a holy grail of being able to send practically any kind of media to practically any kind of TV in the home (and beyond). This is no mean feat. Months ago, I tried a product that attempted this kind of whole-home video bridging and it was one of the worst product experiences I’ve ever had (although in fairness, the product was really aimed more at new construction with high-speed connections and, no, I’m not going to say what it was). But given Sling’s performance over humble 3G cellular networks, I like its chances.
Update: Dave Zatz writes to tell me that it’s still called the SlingCatcher, not the Slingbox Catcher. Actually, though, maybe it should be called the Slingbox Catcher because “Slingbox” has probably attracted more brand recognition than the company brand.