Sling Media has introduced the latest version of its 10-year-old place-shifting gadget, the Slingbox, which replaces a pay-per-mobile-app model with ads.
Retailing for $199.99--$50 more expensive than the Slingbox M1, which was released a year ago--the M2 no longer will require consumers to pay $15 for each mobile app they purchase. However, users will experience pre-roll ads when they fire up apps.
Ads will appear in the viewing window but not the video itself and will disappear when video goes into full-screen mode.
"Our customers have been asking us to eliminate the cost of downloading the app for every mobile device that they own," says Michael Hawkey, senior VP and GM of Sling Media, in a statement. "The Slingbox M2 bundle addresses this request by providing a no-compromise entertainment experience across a variety of touch points, allowing users to view what they're paying for at home from anywhere in the world--and on their own terms."
The M2 also includes a video set-up tutorial, but the change in business model seems to be the major product revision. Otherwise, the device does essentially what the Slingbox has always done: allow users to access their pay-TV subscription from anywhere via the Internet.
The company's service continues to support Macs and PCs, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast are also supported.
Since Sling Media hasn't released usage data, it's unclear as to how well its boxes are selling amid increased usage of the pay-TV industry's TV Everywhere platform. The industry's multiscreen initiative, after all, competes directly with Slingbox by allowing users to stream their channels outside the home.
Last year, Sling Media targeted TV Everywhere in mocking product ads, advising consumers to avoid "CWAP," aka "can't watch anywhere pain."
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