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TV Everywhere – literally this time

Tue, 11/03/2009 - 8:03am
Brian Santo

Sling Media wants to point out that if you want all TV literally everywhere, well then TV Everywhere is profoundly misnamed. On the other hand, Sling can give cable the ability to get TV literally everywhere with its new Sling-enabled, tru2way-based cable HD DVR.

Quick review: Over-the-top distributors (e.g., Hulu) are making broadcast video available for free online, potentially undermining the value of a cable TV connection. Cable and satellite respond with a scheme whereby viewers can get premium network channels online only if they are also subscribers to a pay-TV service that broadcasts those channels. The scheme is alternately called On Demand Online (Comcast, maybe Dish Network) or TV Everywhere.

And there’s Sling Media’s objection: It’s not “TV Everywhere” – it’s some TV in some places. You can’t get news or sports. And though you can get it on your TV or your PC, you can’t get it on mobile devices, and there are geographic market limitations.

This is where Sling Media’s new T2200S HD DVR (announced at the very end of March) comes in – it can enable an MSO to take literally all of the content it has rights to and forward it anywhere in the world, on any device.

T2200S-HD-DVR

Alternatively, an MSO can restrict the distribution to in-home only – essentially automatically creating an in-home network. As it is, just less than half of all Sling traffic is currently distributed to some other point in the home, according to Michael Hawkey, EchoStar Technologies’ vice president of sales and marketing.

Last January, the company announced a slim HD monitor with built-in Sling-catching technology that can be used anywhere in the home. It will probably be priced at about $200, Hawkey said.

Sling is also coming out with a Sling module that can be used with ancillary TVs in the house, so that MSOs don’t have to put a separate DVR unit in every room with a TV set. Distribution can be via Wi-Fi or via a MoCA connection.

The company is also coming out with an online guide for search and discovery of content that will also allow viewers to program their DVRs months in advance, if they so desire. This guide, Hawkey said, can be branded by the service provider.

It just might be that some operators might like the idea but will be constitutionally unable to bring themselves to deal with EchoStar. Why then, Sling would be happy to license its technology to any other set-top maker.

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