During the lead up to the holidays Sling slipped out something we’ve been waiting for, SlingPlayer for Google TV. OK, they actually call it SlingPlayer for Logitech Revue for some reason, but it runs just fine on the Sony Google TV systems as well. This follows the launch for Boxee Box in November, and other recent client releases. As with the other recent launches you’ll need a Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD, as SlingPlayer for Google TV only supports H.264 streaming.
Right now Amazon is selling a refurbished Logitech Revue for $79.99. So for $80 you can have a roll-your-own SlingCatcher with all of the features of Google TV. That’s a pretty solid deal.
There is one potential hitch. In a recent email newsletter Sling stated:“During this introductory period SlingPlayer for Logitech Revue is free! So, give it a try — you’re going to love it.” and“SlingPlayer for connected devices is free of charge in North America during this introductory period.” This seems to imply that after the introductory period is over, SlingPlayer for Logitech Revue will no longer be free. That’s not too surprising, they charge for all of their mobile clients too. Though it is getting a little ridiculous for us Android users as they now have three different versions, one for phones, one for tablets, and now one for Google TV, and they cost $30 each. It is perfectly feasible under the Android APIs to develop one client that works well on all three platforms. It is starting to feel like they’re milking the Android users for extra revenue.
Dave Zatz over on Zatz Not Funny noticed this as well. Dave thinks they may introduce monthly, or annual, subscription fees for these clients. I’m more inclined to think they’ll be priced as one-time purchases, just like the mobile clients. One-time purchases are more in-tune with the market on these devices and they’re easier for customers to swallow. Ongoing costs add up, and they’re harder to justify. I’d probably pay $30 for SlingPlayer on my Revue; even if I would resent it a bit since I’ve already purchased it for my phone, and will likely be purchasing it for my Transformer Prime when it arrives as well. But I’m not going to subscribe to it as a service. I just wouldn’t use it enough to justify that cost.