The official press releases go out in the morning, but Dave Zatz of Sling Media dropped me an email to let me know about two new products. I also spoke to him by phone to clarify a few points and to get some additional information. First is the Slingbox PRO-HD, pictured here. As the name implies, it is a new version of the Slingbox PRO which supports HD streaming.
It has been fully updated. The internal tuner is now digital and supports ATSC and clear QAM. It no longer needs the HD Connect cable, instead it has integrated component video inputs, like the Slingbox SOLO. It also has a coax digital audio input and can stream 5.1 audio. (There is no optical digital input.) The biggest change of all is the ability to stream content at resolutions of up to 1080i, bandwidth allowing. All current Slingboxes stream at a maximum resolution of 640×480 progressive. Speaking with Dave, he believes it will stream at the resolution fed to the box (up to 1080i), so a 720p source will be streamed at 720p. And these HD streams are also available remotely for those with fast enough broadband connections, such as the higher end FiOS service options.
Not only will it stream HD content to the SlingPlayer clients, but it will also stream HD to the forthcoming SlingCatcher – more details of which will be coming soon. The Slingbox PRO-HD is slated for a 3Q2008 release with an MSRP of USD$399.99, so start saving those pennies today.
The other product announcement is SlingPlayer Mobile for Blackberry. Unlike the Slingbox PRO-HD, which has been a well kept secret, the BlackBerry software has been a known project. Sling will be demonstrating SlingPlayer Mobile on the Blackberry Pearl 8120 at CES. It is similar to the existing SlingPlayer Mobile clients for Windows Mobile, Palm OS, and Symbian, and will support viewing over 3G cellular networks and WiFi. SPM for Blackberry will be available later this year with an MSRP of USD$29.99.
Sling has more news yet to come when CES kicks off Monday. Though if you’ve been a regular reader of this blog you might have a good idea of what to expect.
EDIT: Engadget got some hands-on time with both products and have more photos.