Integrating Sling technology into one of its boxes apparently wasn’t enough. Arris has arranged with Sling Media to become the exclusive worldwide distributor of gateways and standalone devices that integrate Sling technology.
EchoStar is giving up a significant amount of control of the sales and licensing of Sling technology. The two companies said Arris will be selling to cable, telco and wireless service providers. EchoStar will continue to sell Sling-based products to satellite providers, notably its sister company, Dish Network.
Last month Arris introduced its MS4000 whole-home box integrating Sling, bringing multiscreen, placeshifting capabilities to its Moxi-based Whole Home Solution. That product integrated a hardware-based transcoder provided by Sling.
Arris said it is planning a phased rollout of the Sling Media technology to global service providers, with the launch of the MS4000 in early 2014, followed by video gateway offerings and technology licensing for multivendor devices.
More standalone devices integrating Sling technology are on Arris roadmap, along with more gateways, both headed or headless. Arris executive Mark DiPietro said that while the MS4000 integrates hardware-based Sling technology, subsequent products will incorporate software-based implementations.
Consumers with Sling Boxes loved the product, but Sling Media was never able to achieve much success selling the products to anyone other than Dish Network. DiPietro said that Arris has the customer relationships that will help proliferate the technology. Many of the Sling-based products on its current roadmap are being developed to cater to specific customers.
EchoStar / Sling Media will continue to build Sling boxes for satellite customers. DiPietro said that manufacturing for satellite customers is not part of the current arrangement. Unsaid was that Arris might eventually make separate arrangements to do that as well under some future agreement.
"Our exclusive agreement with Sling Media further solidifies our position as the leading provider of transcoding solutions for the future of multiscreen...everywhere," said John Burke, Arris’ SVP corporate strategy & development; president cloud solutions business. "We selected Sling Media for their complementary expertise in placeshifting technology. This collaboration rounds out our broad multiscreen portfolio in the cloud, network, and home to give global providers a variety of ways to let consumers enjoy their media, their way."
"We are very pleased to announce this agreement with Arris, which will enable our two companies to closely collaborate on a range of integrated and standalone video solutions that deliver HD-quality content across multiple mobile devices, accessible anywhere. In addition, Sling Media is very pleased with the worldwide leadership and industry experience that the company's relationship with Arris provides," said Michael Hawkey, vice president and general manager Sling Media.
[This article was revised to add comments by DiPietro]