Two new Sling products hit the UK

Sling Media has launched two new Slingbox models in the UK. The Slingbox Pro and the Slingbox Solo add support for HD set-top boxes like Sky+ HD, and increase streaming capabilities to 8Mbps for better viewing quality.

Both the Slingbox Pro and the Slingbox Solo build on the "tremendous success" of the Slingbox, launched just three years ago. Both models transform units such as PCs, Apple Macs, notebook computers, Windows Mobile-based mobile phones and a range of Symbian S60-based handsets into your very own portable TV set by relaying broadcasts. All that's required is a broadband connection.

"The new products have been beefed up to meet the requirements of today's TV", said Stuart Collingwood, Slingmedia VP for Europe, at a product demo here at ahead of the launch.

New features include 16:9 widescreen support, increased full VGA streaming performance to 8Mbps (from 2.5Mbps) and the HD box support.

The multi-input Slingbox Pro has four A/V inputs, each complete with audio; aerial, S-Video, composite input/output, and an HD component connection. You can hook up up to three independent A/V devices and one aerial connection at one time. It also features an integrated PAL analogue/digital tuner with DVB-T support, giving you access to Freeview programming from your aerial. The unit comes supplied with an HD Connect cable.

Aimed at those with a standard or HD set-top box or DVR, the single input Slingbox Solo can connect one A/V device only, via a component, S-Video, or composite connection, and is half the size of the classic Slingbox and the Slingbox Pro. "The tremendous success of the Slingbox in the UK demonstrates that consumers have embraced the idea of placeshifting," Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media, said in a statement to mark the launch.

"With the Slingbox Pro and Slingbox Solo, we are setting an even higher standard by incorporating industry-leading video quality over and above that found on the original Slingbox, and streamlined set-up, all at price points that we feel will make them ideal Christmas gifts."

EchoStar sale

Collingwood also commented on this week's sale of Sling Media to EchoStar. "There will be no changes for consumers for now, so there's no need to worry. In the future, Slingbox functions may be integrated into EchoStar products."

He also told us of the forthcoming launch of the Slingcatcher, due to hit the UK early next year. The device plugs into your TV and your network, allowing you to watch your Sling feeds on another TV, as opposed to a computer monitor or mobile device. "You'll be able to project video stored on your computer onto your TV, and the other way around," said Collingwood.

The Slingbox Pro and the Slingbox Solo goes on sale in the next few weeks for £200 and £130 respectively. The classic Slingbox now costs £99.