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Post Link Posted: Fri Sep 02 2011 6:15 pm
Post subject: Very suspicious - alot of SlingCatchers are dying. Another one here!
Reply to MuscleJunkie Reply with quote

I must admit after reading through the SlingCatcher forum here and other the Slingcatcher support forums on other websites (domestic and foreign), I am finding it extremely suspicious that so many SlingCatchers are apparently dying. Especially considering that Sling has the ability to manipulate the software of these units (at will in many cases).

Granted with a product there are expected failures. But when you see such consistency as is reported with Slingcatchers everywhere dying - some from power supply failures and some from ???? - well it becomes very suspicious.

Consider this.

Revenue Stream #1 - Power Supplies

In the past reported posts of people who come to discover one day that their slingcatcher has no power light but shows a network light (sometimes dim) and the bottom middle light) are always told to buy a "new power supply" at $20.00 a pop. After speaking to a Chinese associate who manufactures these type of power supplies, you would be surprised just how little these things cost to make - especially the lower quality ones such as was originally shipped with the SlingCatcher as well as the ones that are being sent as a replacement at $20.00 from Sling. I think it is pretty much an established fact that these power supplies are not of a good quality based off of their extremely high (and unacceptable by any reputable device manufacturer) failure rate. Now you have your brand new fresh power supply - but the question is.....Will it work?? See below for a continuation of that point.

Revenue Stream #2 - Technical Support

When you have this issue which seems to be so consistently reported, again someone from Sling is sure to soon chime in (as well if you call or email Sling) that you can speak to a friendly (and I believe overseas = extremely cheap labor) tech support person for a fee of $29.99. If you haven't already figured out to try and buy a replacement power supply, you'll fork over $29.99 for technical support and they'll tell you to get a new power supply. Boy, that sure was easy money wasn't it? Now imagine this - you receive your new replacement power supply and your SlingCatcher STILL doesn't work (as reported pretty consistently in by other users). You then call back and have to fork over ANOTHER $29.99 to speak to a technical support rep once again. Granted some do not go this route but I am sure you can imagine there are still plenty who do.

Revenue Stream #3 - Replacement SlingCatchers

Ok, so again we go back to the cost of manufacturing the SlingCatcher. Per the Chinese associate, you would be extremely surprised just how little it cost to make the SlingCatcher unit itself. Sure there was some initial investment (R&D, etc) but that has long since been recouped by the strong sales of these units while they were here in the USA and sales overseas (especially those buying them in bulk for TV retransmission services, traffic cams, television networks/subsidiaries along other government entities that have found the device quite useful for various things.) So they (Sling) made a nice profit off of your original purchase of what ~$200 or more??. Now your Slingcatcher is broken, you called Tech Support and gave them another $30.00 to be told to buy a replacement power supply at $20.00. So NOW you have given Sling ~$250.00 or more (depending on your purchase price). Next say you receive your new power supply and it STILL doesn't fix your problem. You then call back to Technical Support and give them another $30.00. Your tally is now up to ~$280.00. Here is the kicker..... When you call back, the friendly technical support agent will tell you oh, your SlingCatcher must be dead...thats just a shame BUT do we have an offer for you. Just pay us another $149.00 and we'll send you a replacment SlingCatcher (we'll even cross ship) - you'll just need to "send us your old one" Ok, so now you have paid Sling a total of ~ $429.00 over the life of your SlingCatcher. You send them back your old one and you are right back on the road - SlingCatching away... No worries - its only money right?

So what happens then? During my research I did find a few (buried quite deep on other sites - including a couple foreign language ones) reports that contained a few things to consider:

Sling receives your old SlingCatcher - but is it really dead or something else? I think we all know that Sling has the ability to automatically update the software on these units if they are connected to the internet in any way. Wait you say - not everyone connects their Slingcatcher to the internet. Well, I would think most people who use the SlingCatcher for what it is meant to do connect it to the net at one point or another - either for updates or to connect to a "remote slingbox"

Here is a point to consider - do you think it is possible that a software update could render the SlingCatcher dead or otherwise unable to be used? Perhaps it is an update that failed and "bricked" the device like can happen with any other updateable electronics device. Or perhaps there is something even more than complicated than that? Could it be possible that units might be randomly killed or made unable to be used? Again, random is the key word here. Say that was the case with the SlingCatcher and you the consumer went through all I mentioned above. Sling has been paid over the life of your originally purchased unit now ~$429.00 and they now have in their hands your old Slingcatcher unit that appears to be dead. But maybe it isn't really dead...maybe it is just disabled. What might they do in this hypothetical scenerio? Say the outside of your Catcher is beat up pretty bad? Well the outside plastic and metal box is not what makes the SlingCatcher work, it is the inside components that are important. Remember to make SlingCatcher is not very expensive (component wise/manufacturing wise) in comparison to the retail charged price. The plastic and metal case are the cheapest parts of the unit Imagine if say they just opened your old unit, pulled out the important parts (the board, etc) and put them into a new plastic/metal (again very cheap) case. At that point say they were able to re-update the software and the Slingcatcher would MAGICALLY start working again. No need to replace the board or anything else. They then put the "refurbished unit" (nice and cleaned up) into a plastic bag and off it goes to the next customer who just paid them $149.00 for a replacement SlingCatcher due to the fact that their unit just all of a sudden died for no apparent reason at all. If that hypothetical scenerio were happening, wouldn't it seem like a nice little business model for some additional revenue streams for a company that might need some additional $$$$$.

Ok, so why am I writing this? I've had my SlingCatcher since they first came out. Never had a problem with it. It was stored and used in a clean, well ventilated (temperature and power controlled) environment. Awhile back I disconnected the catcher from the network but still used it offline occasionally with no issues whatsoever. Then recently I reconnected it back to the network and lo and behold one day it seems as if the unit attempted or actually did update. Next thing I know, it was DEAD. No picture (via HDMI) - just the same dim network light and 1st middle light as reported by so many others. I tried another power supply and no result - same thing. So I started my research and found report after report after report of people talking about how their catcher had died. No, I didn't call tech support and pay the $30.00 - I just read some advice and purchased a new AC adapter from Sling at $30.00. I receive my new power supply (identical except the new one has some sort of filter on the cord close to the transformer) and plugged it in. No, my unit did not magically start working. I now had a grey picture on the TV (indicating the HDMI is receiving something) but still no power light, just a network light and bottom middle light. If I press (or press and hold) the reset button, the picture goes black but again back to grey. I contacted sling and they suggested I pay them $30.00 to speak to Tech Support. I asked what other options were available and they said I could pay them $149.00 for a replacement unit. I told them I would call them back. So I started researching more and found so many consistent failure reports on these units along with the buried and obscure reports of the hypothtical scenerios I mentioned above.

I think it is pretty obvious that the SlingCatcher has either

Some serious quality issues. Too many failures in a short time span (remember there are electronics that have been running consistently across their deployment based without major issues for 20 years or more)


something very suspicious is occurring with the software updates.

Either way, I would think that even though the product is discontinued, Sling might consider stepping up and addressing this obvious problem. But maybe they might not want to do this as the revenue streams I mentioned above might not be a such a bad thing for them.

Just sayin'

SlingCatchers suspicious dying alot
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Post Link Posted: Fri Sep 02 2011 11:56 pm
Post subject: Re: Very suspicious - alot of SlingCatchers are dying. Another one here!
Reply to JLA Reply with quote

FYI - it might not help this situation, but maybe for others researching

Part Numbers

Inner Top White Plastic Case
PN: 880-1003 >ABS<

Ports Cover 880-10022 >ABS<

FAB# 020729

Main Chip Motherboard

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