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Slingmedia™ is a company that provides technology to manage audio and video playback systems. It is the leading firm in this genre, with its primary product marketed as the Slingbox®. The company itself is owned by Echostar Corporation™, which purchased it in 2007 for $380 million US Dollars (USD).
The Slingbox® was designed to meet the consumer need to access TV and media files from remote locations via an Internet connection. Blake and Jason Krikorian, who wanted to view the 2002 Major League Baseball season while traveling, are considered the original developers of this requirement. They created Slingmedia™ to address this need.
There has been widespread concern regarding the legal implications of Slingmedia™ products since they were first introduced. The technology effectively allows viewers to circumvent the location restrictions common to sporting and other events and view programming outside of the broadcasting area, with no time delay. To date, these concerns have not resulted in any legal action, and may have actually spread the product information into the popular media.
Slingmedia™ offers a range of products surrounding the single requirement but with additional features. The Slingbox® has a fairly simple design. The unit is inserted into the standard audio video system. Audio and video signal inputs connect directly to the unit from the media source, such as the satellite receiver or cable box.
The TV or amplifier cables are connected to the Slingbox®, so that the signal is effectively routed through the Slingbox®. A wireless card built in to the unit allows it to stream the video and audio signal it is receiving to the Internet. Each Slingbox® has a basic operating system and an Internet Protocol (IP) address. The user types in his IP address, user name and password from anywhere in the world with Internet access and views real time TV programs. The same access can also allow the user to view saved media files.
The functionality provided by Slingmedia™ products allows users the flexibility to watch their favorite TV shows or media from anywhere in the world, at their convenience. As Slingmedia™ becomes more familiar with its market, additional products and features are being developed. For example, the ability to access a central repository of media events at any time is a popular feature, which reduces the storage capacity requirements for the individual customer. The growth of Slingbox® and related products has been fueled by the growing movement in media and entertainment away from the standard TV model to Internet driven, consumer controlled media. Although the Internet has proven very popular, many entertainment firms are struggling to find a way to make it profitable.