A few weeks ago the FCC leaked information about a combination Slingbox/cable modem, and now they’re at it again. Engadget spotted the SlingCatcher and a new Slingbox SOLO.
The SlingCatcher may properly be the ‘Slingbox Catcher’ now, going by the cover letter, although the Test Report still refers to it as the SlingCatcher. (I tend to think it is the SlingCatcher and the cover letter was in error. Frankly ‘Slingbox Catcher’ is extremely lame. EDIT: Dave Zatz of Sling Media confirmed that the product is still the SlingCatcher.) Model SC100-100 has English packaging and documentation while SC100-140 has French packaging and documentation for Canada. The Slingbox SOLO is model SB260-100 or SB260-140. From the Short Term Confidentiality request, we know the official announcement is planned for October 2007 – see section 6, subpart a. From the Test Report (the ‘EUT’ is the SlingCatcher):
Product Description: The EUT is a breakthrough consumer electronics device that takes multimedia content either from a USB storage device or through the Ethernet port which gives a video/audio output to the TV. The EUT can be controlled using the included infrared remote control.
You can actually glean some decent product info from these test reports:
The EUT consisted of the SlingCatcher and its infrared remote control. The EUT was connected to the television, speaker, USB storage device #1, USB storage device #2, and remote laptop computer via its composite video output, analog audio output, S-video output, HDMI output, component video output, digital audio output, USB, and Ethernet ports, respectively.
So we know the final configuration has at least one, maybe two, USB ports. It has composite video out, S-Video out, component video out, analog audio (stereo) out, digital audio out (probably optical), and HDMI out. And, of course, an Ethernet port. I tend to think it has dual USB ports, because the test lists both USB devices as Transcend JF V30 flash drives – and why test two of the same thing unless it was for simultaneous testing of both ports?
The Slingbox SOLO was sent under the same cover letters. Since we’ve never heard of this one before, unlike the SlingCatcher, the Test Report is a bit more interesting in that it reveals all we know of this mystery box.
Product Description: The EUT is a breakthrough consumer electronics device that transforms todayâ€™s TV viewing experience. It enables consumers to watch their TV programs from wherever they are by turning virtually any laptop or internet-connected device into a personal TV. It redirects, or â€œplace shiftsâ€ the TV signal from any cable box, satellite receiver, or personal video recorder to a viewerâ€™s location and device of choice.
OK, so far it sounds like any Slingbox really. But what about the ports?
The EUT was connected to the DVD player, television, IR sensors, USB storage device, and remote laptop computer via its composite video input, stereo audio input, S-video input, component video input, composite video output, stereo audio output, S-video output, component video output, IR sensor, USB, and Ethernet ports, respectively.
Right off the bat – USB storage device? Very interesting. A Slingbox that can read from storage? Smells like, perhaps, a Slingbox with built-in SlingCatcher? Check out the list of ports – composite video input and output, component video input and output, S-Video input and output, analog audio (stereo) input and output, IR blaster port, USB port, and Ethernet port. No HDMI or digital audio output, however – so not a full SlingCatcher if at all. But the USB device is listed as a SanDisk 256MB flash drive, so it was connected to storage. All of those input/output ports provide for pass-through, but perhaps also decoding and output a la the SlingCatcher. If so, it would be nice for it to have the full compliment of ports though.
From the ports it sounds like something between the Slingbox AV and the Slingbox Pro. No more RF input – probably in light of the broadcast analog sunset coming up anyway and the increasing migration of cable systems to digital. But designed for only one input at a time – note the single set of audio inputs – and not multiple inputs like the Pro.
Nice to see Sling continuing to crank out products.