Over a year ago Sling Media announced a deal with Verizon Wireless to rent a Slingbox to Verizon Wireless customers for uses with their mobile devices. Instead of buying a Slingbox at retail users would be able to rent a Slingbox from Verizon for a monthly fee. EngadgetHD even got photos of the unit, a Slingbox 120, at CES 2011. But after the announcement and sighting at CES 2011 it seems like nothing new appeared, and everyone just forgot about the deal or presumed it fizzled.
That is, until today. EngadgetHD’s Richard Lawler called my attention to this video,“Introduction to the Verizon Slingbox Subscription Plan”, posted yesterday by Sling Support:
According to the video the Verizon Slingbox Subscription Plan is available now, for a $49.99 deposit and $9.99/month – plus taxes and shipping. You get a Slingbox 120, Slingbox player software for your Verizon mobile device (which is not the same as the generally available SlingPlayer app), and ‘accessories’. I found this FAQ on Sling’s website, which indicates the ‘accessories’ amount to a pair of SlingLink TURBO powerline network adapters – also seen in the video. The deposit is refundable if you cancel the subscription and return the hardware.
The video states that the subscription is available if your have a 4G LTE device, but the app doesn’t seem to be available on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus nor my wife’s Verizon Droid RAZR. The FAQ indicates the supported phones are the HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung Droid Charge, and LG Revolution, while the video explicitly mentions the Thunderbolt, Charge, and the Motorola Droid Bionic – but not the Revolution.
Since the phones mentioned are all last year’s models, and this hit out of the blue, I left the following comment on the video:
This was announced last year, and the FAQ on Sling’s site? (support.slingbox.com/get/KB-2000434.html) seems out of date – the phone models listed are all last year’s models. Is this actually launching now? Which phones are/will be supported? I don’t see the app on my Verizon Wireless Galaxy Nexus, which is 4G LTE.
Somewhat surprisingly, Sling Support responded quickly thusly:
Good point, but that FAQ is actually accurate. We have a limited roll out right now and are evaluating other VZW models as they come to market.? Thanks!
If the flagship 4G LTE phones aren’t supported it does seem to be ‘limited’, but hopefully they’ll expand this to newer models rapidly. It certainly seems to have been a very quiet launch. Not only did we miss any sign of it, but I can’t find any mention of this service anywhere on the Verizon Wireless website. And even the Sling Media website is pretty much limited to the old 2011 press release and the FAQ. It doesn’t seem like either party is doing much to publicize this option.
What about you? If you have a Verizon 4G LTE phone, especially a model not listed above, is this available to you? Would you take this over just buying a Slingbox outright? A Slingbox SOLO is currently $162.02 at Amazon, and SlingPlayer for Phones is $29.99, so you’d be looking at just over $192. That’s about 19 months worth of subscription fees (I won’t count the deposit since that’d refundable). Personally I think buying a Slingbox at retail is a better deal in the long run.