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Post Link Posted: Sun Jun 17 2012 3:28 am
Post subject: Logitech Revue and Sling Media SlingCatcher - Match MADE in HEAVEN - it just plain WORKS. Too bad no one wants U 2 know
Reply to MummyChunk Reply with quote





Logitech Revue Google TV and Sling Media's SlingCatcher - finally a match made in heaven that simply works. Just too bad that the cable and satellite companies along with the major electronics manufacturers don't want you to know about it!

There are many ways as of today's date where you can watch your TV from multiple devices just about anywhere. But the question is - just how well do any of the current solutions work? Some might say - oh there are plenty. But really think about it? Do any of them work anything close to the good old cable/satellite box hooked directly to a TV with you sitting on your couch flipping the remote? Well ummm maybe not. Seems that you might have to connect this, click this, do this.. steps - steps , steps. Too many steps and too much frustration. But the thing you might not realize is this is done intentionally! The driving forces behind cable and satellite do not want it to be too easy for you to watch your TV (or perhaps someone else's that you might share) from anywhere on anything close to a TV with anything except that cable/satellite (you are paying them a subscription for) box hooked to that TV in your home. Sure, you can watch it from your iPhone, iPad, etc. There is even Sling Player for Connected Devices that allows you to watch your TV through devices such as Google TV or Boxee, etc. But even then, the functionality is horrible and offers nothing close to the experience you might have sitting on your couch at home flipping the cable/satellite company provide remote. Again, this is all intentional because below you will read about how this is accomplished with 1 piece of 4-year old technology and another that is 2 years old.

Now keep in mind, guess who bought and now owns Sling Media (as of 2007) - heh heh EchoStar Corporation (one of the largest satellite TV companies around) Hmm. wonder why they made that purchase.

So lets get back to the original point - shouldn't it be easy to accomplish this with all of the technology that's out there today. The answer is OF COURSE - but again that's not the case due to efforts by the cable and satellite companies to pressure and force electronics manufacturers to cripple the functionality of new devices or suppress emerging technologies all together that would allow an end user the ability to remotely view their (or shared) television with a similar experience as if they were sitting at home with the cable/satellite company provided box/remote.

But..... it looks like they missed one combination using something newer and something older that does EXACTLY this - and it works great. Just a couple of problems.

* Both devices are now no longer made (hmm wonder why)
* One device is very scarce and hard to find and the other is soon to follow

Ok, now to the details

You all know that cable or satellite subscriptions run an average of $100 to $200 a month for decent package Pretty expensive. So what if you have multiple homes or a child in a dorm at school that doesn't offer TV as part of the school package? We all know that the cable/satellite companies want you to pay them another $100 to $200 to watch TV at the separate location even if you are already paying them a hefty fee at home. So several years ago a little company called Sling Media came along with the SlingBox which allowed you to view your TV from anywhere and the cable/satellite companies hated it, tried to squash it and then one of them decided to just buy them. The initial limitation with this new technology was you could only watch that TV on a computer - nothing close to duplicating the "watch TV at home on the couch" experience. They expanded to allowing users to view their TV from mobile devices (Palm, iPhone, etc) but again, still nothing close to the "watch TV at home on the couch" experience. Then one day they came along with something great - it was called The SlingCatcher.

SlingCatcher offered the end user the ability to connect the SlingCatcher device to a TV anywhere in the world and if there was an available Internet connection (wired or wireless) then the user could connect to their Slingbox (which is hooked to a cable/satellite box) at home and control it with a remote. This worked very well and came very close to duplicating that "watch TV at home on the couch" experience. There were a few problems. The initial software releases had multiple bugs, using cable/satellite box features such as the guide were slow but it was a huge step forward. And it was so good in fact, it grabbed the immediate attention of the cable/satellite company's as they saw this new technology as a direct threat to their business. Then one day without warning guess what happened? The SlingCatcher was discontinued.

If you look at the timeline of events, it starts to all make sense

*2005/2006 SlingCatcher development started
*January 2007 - SlingCatcher announced - scheduled for release Q2 2007
*Mid 2007 - unexplained delays on SlingCatcher release (hmm wonder why)
*October 2007 - Echostar Corporation acquires Sling Media
*October 2008 - one year after Echostar acquisition SlingCatcher is released - device is initially crippled but after customer complains later firmware offer "some" improvements in an weak pacification effort.
*Slingcatcher suddenly discontinued in USA. Continues to sell quietly in Europe and then finally discontinued for not apparent reason and no replacement offered.

So the question here is why did they discontinue SlingCatcher and why no replacement? Because they (Echostar) didn't want it released in the 1st place. It worked too well in providing that "watch TV at home on the couch" experience.

Fast forward to 2010. Sony and Logitech released their Google TV devices. Logitech had a superior product because of the wireless full keyboard offered with TV remote control buttons and trackpad included. The Sony device was crippled due to its miniature poor excuse of a keyboard device. They came the Google TV app called TV & Movies. This allowed a user to connect their cable/satellite box to the Logitech Revue and use them jointly for a superior TV viewing experience. TV & Movies provides a visual guide for channels with categories that uses movie type posters as program representations. The user can use this to select the program they want to watch (or use the Google TV search function) then the Google TV device will automatically switch to and change channels on the cable/satellite box.

It gets better

You can connect a SlingCatcher to the Logitech Revue and it does the same thing. FINALLY the "watch TV at home on the couch" experience is duplicated on a remote device with this unique combination of older and newer technology.

Google TV has had its own problems with the broadcasters/network TV and cable/satellite companies. This has affected both the Sony and Logitech devices. But using this device with a SlingCatcher makes most of this no longer matter. And guess what - the Logitech Revue has now been discontinued too but the Sony continues on with its crippled user control device.

So, here is an example how this unique combination can benefit a group of users and the exact reason why the cable/satellite companies are doing everything they can (some in plain view and even more behind the scenes) to cripple or suppress any technology that will allow a user to remotely duplicate the "watch TV at home on the couch" experience. without paying multiple overpriced subscription fees.

Example Scenario

Location # 1
Home User with a major cable/satellite/internet provider with mid/top tier subscription package and 2 to 3 Mbps internet upload capacity. Paying $150.00 to $200.00 /month for TV/Internet Subscription serving 3 to 5 TVs in the house

Additional items
* Cable/Satellite provided Gateway Router/Switch
* (2) Slingbox Classic or comparable or 1st Gen Slingbox Pro (cheaply found on CL or Ebay)
* (1) Slingbox Pro HD
*(3) Extra Receivers or shared with one of 3 to 5 existing receivers in home
*Cheap Linksys WAP54G Access Points for WiFi or direct wired connection or cheaply found 1st Gen Slinglink Homeplug adapters

Location #2
Family or Friend of Home User or 2nd home of Home User. 3 TV's in home (2 smaller and 1 55+ inch) and 5 to 10Mbps internet download connection at approx $14.95 to $29.99/month

Additional Items
*Cheap Router/Switch or Internet Provider provided switch/router
(3) SlingCatchers
(3) Logitech Revue Google TV Devices with keyboard included (still found ~$70 - $100)
*Cheap Linksys WAP54G Access Points for WiFi or direct wired connection or cheaply found 1st Gen Slinglink Homeplug adapters

All three users at location #2 can connect to the three Slingboxes at location 1 simultaneously and watch TV thru their cheap internet connection. No need for another $150 - $200.00 Cable/Satellite subscription at location #2. Users at location #1 not affected even in they are watching TV provided separate receivers are connected to the Slingboxes at location #1. The only monthly cost is the internet connection and with this combo you have the "watch TV at home on the couch" experience without the hassles and intentionally crippled functionality of newer offerings such as Slingplayer for connected devices, etc.

Get it while you can............





SlingCatcher Logitech HEAVEN Match
Sponsored Link





SlingCatcher will be STB in this diagram. Google TV connects to internet via WiFi or wired

Logitech_Revue_and_Sling_Media_SlingCatcher_-_Match_MADE_in_HEAVEN_-_it_just_plain_WORKS.__Too_bad_no_one_wants_U_2_know
More pictures can be found here and here



Slinglink offers a solid option to connect with something more reliable than WiFi and without traditional network cabling. Goes through your home's power lines and be used with any device not just Sling Media products. 50 to 70Mbps transfer speeds are consistently seen

Logitech_Revue_and_Sling_Media_SlingCatcher_-_Match_MADE_in_HEAVEN_-_it_just_plain_WORKS.__Too_bad_no_one_wants_U_2_know
More pictures can be found here and here




Logitech_Revue_and_Sling_Media_SlingCatcher_-_Match_MADE_in_HEAVEN_-_it_just_plain_WORKS.__Too_bad_no_one_wants_U_2_know
More pictures can be found here and here




Logitech_Revue_and_Sling_Media_SlingCatcher_-_Match_MADE_in_HEAVEN_-_it_just_plain_WORKS.__Too_bad_no_one_wants_U_2_know
More pictures can be found here and here










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MummyChunk
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Post Link Posted: Mon Jun 18 2012 2:24 pm
Post subject: Re: Logitech Revue and Sling Media SlingCatcher - Match MADE in HEAVEN - it just plain WORKS. Too bad no one wants U 2 know
Reply to JLA Reply with quote



Here is a comment from another site made about this

MEGAZONE SAID

Quote:

MegaZone 9 hours ago parent −
You seem to imply some sinister conspiracy to keep place shifting out of consumer hands - frankly you're way off base.

EchoStar acquired Sling Media, no question - but they hardly did it to withhold the technology. EchoStar has continued to sell Slingboxes and has also repeatedly attempted to market Slingloaded DVRs to MPVDs globally. The fact that they haven't had much success isn't due to the technology. The one place they have succeeded is with sister company DISH Network, of course.

The SlingCatcher is no longer available because, frankly, it sucked. I worked for Sling Media when it was released. I argued internally at the time was that the product should either be redesigned or cancelled. What was launched as a product I really could not recommend. When it was released the hardware was basically a couple of years old and that's forever in consumer electronics.

It could only do HD with MPEG-2, the H.264 support was pitiful, and it had other issues. And the pricing was WAY out of scale to where the market had gone. It was cancelled because it didn't sell. It was a weak, over-priced product with a VERY limited market. It was only useful for Slingbox owners, and only a small number of those customers were interested. There just wasn't an economical reason to continue producing it.

I was there, I saw it from the inside, and there was no dark conspiracy to cripple or kill it. It just had a difficult development, got delayed due to resource limitations and the usual disruption following a corporate buyout, and ended up hampered by early hardware design decisions. It was left behind by the evolution of the market between announcement and launch, and was simply a failed product. It is that simple. Nothing more. Your conspiracy theory is hogwash.

Similar reasons killed the Logitech Revue. Google TV really wasn't quite ready for prime time and it didn't sell as hoped. Logitech took HUGE losses on the Revue, and you can't really blame them for pulling out of the market. Again, no dark conspiracy.

However, even with these products gone there is no dearth of options. ANY Google TV device can run SlingPlayer, not just the Logitech Revue, and Sony is still producing them - with new models coming to market now. Boxee also has SlingPlayer. And now Western Digital TV Live devices as well.

On top of that SlingPlayer is available for iOS and Android devices, most of which can be connected to a TV via HDMI or MHL adapters. So you can dock your smartphone and turn it into a 'SlingCatcher' with a simple software download.

There are more ways to accomplish such place shifting onto a TV now than in the past. EchoStar, far from trying to quash the technology as you imply in your article, continues to provide ever more versions of SlingPlayer for Connected Devices. They're INCREASING the pool of products that support this, not decreasing it.

The SlingCatcher, frankly, sucks and I can't believe you're actually recommending it. You get higher quality streams with the native SlingPlayer for Connected Devices when streaming remotely - the main point of your article. You're much better off just using the Revue by itself and getting a higher quality stream than using the SlingCatcher. And it'd be less expensive and less complex to setup to boot.

I would actively recommend avoiding the SlingCatcher.


And response

Megazone - thank you for the reply and your unique perspective/insight into SlingCatcher and the other things mentioned in the post.

I'd have to say that its not a "conspiracy" implied to "keep place shifting out of consumer hands" but instead more of an effort on the part of interested parties to prevent the "average mom & pop" user from "easily" duplicating what can be seen as the "watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience at a remote location. Sure technical individuals like ourselves have no issue with going through the multiple steps, connect this, click this, select this, link this, etc to achieve something similar... Wait, let me stop for a second. I was reading some comments about the new 2nd Gen Sony Google TV device that was recently announced showing yet again another one of Sony's "unusual" miniature remotes that claimed to have a full querty keyboard, etc. One of the comments said they didn't think it would do well because his "girlfriend" wouldn't be able nor would want to have to use a weird remote like that. The true test "IMHO" is that "girlfriend" test. The girlfriend is that girl who could care less about technology, hates complicated things - just wants to sit down, and change channels like she does on her TV/Cable box remote at home and have it work...... If she can use it and not have any complaints - well that is what would show a solution meets the goal of duplicating the "watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience. This is what the interested parties DO NOT want to happen. It is a threat (among many other things) to their businesses.

I agree with you that the SlingCatcher (at initial release) did indeed suck. We received a couple of them right when they 1st hit. Some things were improved with later software updates but I think the usefulness comes down to what it was intended to be used for. The recommendation really comes down to the primary function of the SlingCatcher and how it is used to duplicate the "watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience along with passing the girlfriend test better any other solution currently on the market.

You mentioned some things you felt sucked about SlingCatcher:

*Only do HD with MPEG-2
*H.264 support pitiful
*Other Issues
*Pricing
*Only useful for Slingbox Owners

But to be honest, none of these reasons prevent this device from duplicating the "watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience.

So what does this all mean? To start, you say that there are "more ways to accomplish such place shifting onto a TV now than in the past" You offered examples (see below) but none of these will duplicate the "Watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience nor pass the girlfriend test better than the Logitech Revue/Slingcatcher combination. Even with the "Cons" of the product you mentioned, it still works much better than anything currently out there. One would think that almost 4 years (really forever in consumer electronics as you put it) after SlingCatcher this wouldn't be the case. But unfortunately for end users this is the case and how could anyone fool themselves into thinking it is not intentional?

So as mentioned in the post here: www.jlaforums........9342209

lets compare the real world setup examples of using something "currently on the market" (Slingplayer for Connected Devices or Slingplayer on iPhone, etc) to using two (intentionally) discontinued products together (Logitech Revue and SlingCatcher) and see how the later outshines.

In this situation, say Mom and Daughter want to watch TV or two separate TV's (one 60" LCD and one 32" LCD) at their vacation home (Location #2) but Dad doesn't want to have to pay the cable/satellite company another $150.00 subscription fee since he already does so at his primary home (Location #1) Mom and daughter (on a girls trip) are both not very technically inclined. They just want to be able to turn on the TV and choose stuff to watch with the remote like they do at home. During this time, Dad and his two sons are at the primary home (location #1) watching TV and they don't want their program viewing to be disturbed regardless of what TV at home they are watching.

Location # 1
Home User with a major cable/satellite/internet provider with mid/top tier subscription package and 3 Mbps internet upload capacity. Paying $150.00 to $200.00 /month for TV/Internet Subscription serving 3 TVs in the house

Additional items
* Cable Company provided Gateway Router/Switch
* (1) Slingbox Classic or comparable or 1st Gen Slingbox Pro (cheaply found on CL or Ebay)
* (1) Slingbox Pro HD
*(2) Extra Cable Provided Wireless TV Receivers with separate AP (7.00 month extra fee charged by cable company - sometimes can be negotiated to free depending on the account/area)
*For each Slingbox ((1) Classic or 1st Gen Pro and (1) Pro HD) (1) either "cheap Linksys WAP54G Access Point for WiFi (to be connected at gateway) and (1) to be connected in bridge mode at each Slingbox" or direct wired connection for each Slingbox to gateway or cheaply found 1st Gen Slinglink Homeplug adapter set for each Slingbox

Location #2
Family or Friend of Home User or 2nd home of Home User. 2 TV's in home (1 27" LCD and 1 60" LCD) and 5 to 10Mbps internet download connection at approx $14.95 to $29.99/month

Additional Items
*Cheap Gateway Router/Switch or Internet Provider provided Gateway/Router/Switch
(2) SlingCatchers
(2) Logitech Revue Google TV Devices with keyboard included (still found ~$70 - $100)
(1)Cheap Linksys WAP54G Access Point in bridge mode for WiFi at each Slingcatcher and (1) attached at Gateway or direct wired connection to gateway for each Slingcatcher or cheaply found 1st Gen Slinglink Homeplug adapter set for each Slingcatcher. Logitech Revue can connected via either built-in wifi or direct connection.

With this setup, mom and daughter at the vacation home (location #2) can do the following:

*Mom watching the 60" LCD (which has a Slingcatcher (remotely connected to the Slingbox Pro HD at location 1) and Revue) can turn on the TV with the Logitech Revue remote and either flip or select any channel she likes to watch back home, use the DVR back home or use the TV & Movies app to see all the current programming in a visual interface (with Netflix type layout) then choose to watch (the revue automatically switches to and changes channels via the Slingcatcher with just one click) seamlessly with the HD quality capability of the Slingbox Pro HD back home. Sure, Mom could "TRY" and use the Slingplayer for Connected devices" which is available on the Revue, but this option would offer nothing even close to the easy, seamless and quality experience she has with the Slingcatcher option nor would it work correctly half of the time (see this post - www.jlaforums........1591831) The same would most likely apply to any other currently on the market solution that mom could have connected up to her 60" in the vacation home (Boxee Box or Western Digital TV Live). The Slingcatcher/Logitech Revue solution is seamlessly integrated and provides that "Watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience for Mom just like she would be accustomed to back at her primary home.

*Same thing goes for the daughter watching on her 27" LCD at the vacation home. Since she is on a smaller TV, the revue/Slingcatcher that is hooked to her TV is connected to the Slingbox Classic back at the primary home (location 1) . Dad was smart and picked up one of the Slingbox Classics for $5.00 on CL. Daughter is able (just like mom) to turn on the TV with the Logitech Revue remote and either flip or select any channel she likes to watch back home, use the DVR back home or use the TV & Movies app to see all the current programming in a visual interface (with Netflix type layout) then choose to watch (the revue automatically switches to and changes channels via the Slingcatcher with just one click) seamlessly True the quality of the stream coming from the Classic is not HD, but it doesn't bother daughter because she really can't tell due to the fact she is watching a smaller TV set. This also benefits mom as it will not reduce the quality of her programming due to the lower bandwidth usage of the Slingbox Classic used by Daughter. An important thing to remember in this scenario is Daughter couldn't even try to use Slingplayer for Connected Devices because...oh - Sling Media decided to shut out Slingbox Classic users and not support the Classic (aling with other earlier Slingbox models) with the newer Slingplayer software - see this post: www.jlaforums........8027782

So, I think it should be clear why the Slingcatcher/Logitech Revue combo is recommended for any user that wants to duplicate the "Watch TV at home on the couch with the remote) experience at a remote location and pass the "girlfriend" test as well. There is no solution currently on the market that will work as seamlessly as this combination (regardless of cost) When you combine that with not only the initial savings of not having a 2nd cable subscription along with the fact that you can use some older hardware which can be gotten for practically free - this becomes even more apparent.

Now back to your final comment regarding Slingcatcher. You said that "using the Revue by itself" would be "less expensive and less complex to setup". Hmm. I think that would have to be argued against for a couple of reasons.

*SlingPlayer for Connected Devices WILL not function as seamlessly as the Slingcatcher/Logitech Revue combo nor will it come even close to duplicating the "watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience.

*Setting up Slingcatcher on the Logitech Revue works identically as if you were setting up a cable company's box on the revue (one of the revue's main features/functions is the ability to integrate with your existing TV source). This cannot be done with the Slingplayer for Connected Devices.

*Last - SlingPlayer for Connected Devices just plain sucks and doesn't work correctly half of the time on the Revue and the same seems to be the case on other devices such as Boxee Box and others. - www.jlaforums........1591831 It seems that any sort of player that even has the possibility of directly and seamlessly connecting to a TV ends up being (intentionally?) crippled or discontinued, etc. Sure, you can use the player on a mobile device and try and connect to your TV that way but even then, this will not duplicate the "watch the TV on the couch with the remote" experience that mom and daughter in the above example want nor will it pass the previously mentioned "girlfriend" test.

One more thing to consider. Why is it that the Revue is considered a failure but the Sony Google TV device is not. To be honest (having used both) the Revue is simply better because of the wireless keyboard interface. It can be setup and used just like a cable/satellite remote which goes a long way toward pleasing mom/wife or the girlfriend. The remote used by the Sony is not as nearly as good. its also interesting how the Revue seems to have been (intentionally?) crippled on some of its features and hasn't received some of the updates found on the Sony device. It will be interesting to see what sort of offerings come out with the 2nd Gen Google TV devices. We already know one of the Sony offerings will have the unusual and difficult remote interface as one comment said "will not pass the girlfriend test" I guess only time will tell.












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Post Link Posted: Mon Jun 18 2012 8:04 pm
Post subject: Re: Logitech Revue and Sling Media SlingCatcher - Match MADE in HEAVEN - it just plain WORKS. Too bad no one wants U 2 know
Reply to JLA Reply with quote



Another reply

MEGAZONE said

Quote:
MegaZone 4 hours ago parent −
It is odd that you find the large keyboard that came with the Revue to be a positive, since it is probably the single most slagged item with the product. It seemed like every revue of the Revue complained about it coming with an unwieldy full size keyboard and NOT a small keyboard remote. While Sony's first generation controller had it's own design issues, it was a lot more 'couch friendly' than the Revue's full-size model. (BTW, I own a Revue.) A lot of complaints were made about Logitech selling their small keyboard controller separately - in the end for more than the Revue itself.

I don't think the barrier to using SlingPlayer for Connected Devices is as high as you seem to feel it is. I think the least technical of users can figure it out with a few minutes of playing with the controls. It is no different than getting a new model of DVR or Blu-ray player or TV, etc. Every vendor has their own control layouts and quirks, and it just takes a little bit of learning to get used to it.

When I worked for Sling Media I was a Beta Program Coordinator and I ran most of the SlingPlayer Mobile beta programs, as well as the PRO-HD and some other work. We deliberately had a mix of customers in the beta programs - from uber geeks to technophobes who just wanted to enjoy TV on the go and didn't care about codecs and the like. Even the least technical user could quickly get the hang of controlling SlingPlayer Mobile well enough to meet their needs.

SlingPlayer for Connected Devices is kind of an evolution of SlingPlayer Mobile - similar hardware, and the control environment is closer to that than the PC/Mac software. You shouldn't, and don't, need a keyboard to control it. You can use standard remote control inputs. For Google TV devices there are remote apps for iOS and Android. Boxee has a decent remote with qwerty on the back.

Is that non-technical user going to want to sit on their couch with a full size keyboard on their lap to watch TV? I think the market has clearly said NO to that. People don't want a big, clunky keyboard to control their TV veiwing. Again, you don't - and shouldn't - need a keyboard at all for normal viewing. You only need a keyboard for text input.

But if you're whole goal is to have that "Watch TV at home" experience - what do you need the Revue for in the first place? The SlingCatcher has a remote which directly controls all of its functions. Why not just connect the SlingCatcher to your display and dispense with the Revue entirely? What is the Revue bringing to the party that specifically improves that "Watch TV at home" experience over the SlingCatcher? With the SlingCatcher you have access to all of the functions of the STB back at home - as with any SlingPlayer.

And the issues i raised do make a difference. If mom is watching on a 60" TV via a SlingCatcher she's not getting a real HD stream. While the SlingCatcher can do real HD, it only does it in MPEG-2 over a LAN. WAN streaming can't do HD. It does kind of EDTV - better than SD, not HD - using VC-1. The larger the screen the more noticeable the difference.

As for why the Revue was a failure and the Sony devices were not - well, actually the Sony devices *were* a failure. They didn't sell well either. But Sony is a MUCH larger company and they're in it for the long haul and can afford to ride out a weak launch and double down. But the Revue was outside of Logitech's core product areas. Proportionally the loss was a much larger issue for Logitech.

Sony also produces Android power smartphones, so they have more corporate investment in Android overall. Sony was able to produce multiple Google TV devices given their capability to invest much more in product development. And Sony can afford to keep pushing a product until it gains traction, even at a loss - not so much for Logitech.

So the difference is size. Sony shrugged off the loss on the first generation of products and took it as a lesson learned, and doubled down on new devices with Google TV 2.0. While Logitech took it as a bitter loss and washed their hands of the whole thing, getting out of that market segment. They weren't willing to risk further losses by betting on 2.0.

That's also the reason the Revue hasn't seen the same updates as the Sony. It is exactly the same as Android smartphones and how not all devices get the same updates at the same time. Logitech customized Google TV for their device. That means when a new base release of Google TV comes out it needs to be re-built specifically for the Revue to include those customizations. Since Logitech has discontinued the Revue they aren't paying developers to do that work. The Revue may never receive another update - it is end of lifed. Logitech has well and truly washed their hands of it. Google has indicated they're looking at ways to get updates to Revue users - maybe they can buy the customer base off of Logitech and take over providing updates. Who knows.

Sony, on the other hand, continues to produce updated versions of Google TV because they still sell Google TV devices. So they're doing the work anyway, and all they need to do to support the first generation of devices is have another build target for the code when they produce it. It is a tiny incremental cost over the work they're doing anyway. So it is trivial for them to continue to support the older devices.

And I don't think this whole thing is intentional, not in the way you mean it. There just isn't enough of a market. Frankly not enough people give a damn about place shifting. Those non-technical users you're claiming want this experience don't even consider the *possibility* of doing this. It would never even occur to my parents, for example - AND THEY OWN A SLINGBOX. I gave it to them - and then have NEVER used it. I think I'm the only person who has ever used it - to help troubleshoot issues with their cable/TiVo. And they have an RV and travel around, and a cabin on a lake they go to in the summer. I've tried to explain it to them but they just don't care and get confused by the whole concept.

These users don't read sites like ours, they don't buy the STBs and Slingboxes, etc. There are only a handful of breakout products that have pierced the consumer mind - such as the Roku. For the STB market the Roku is a runaway success - but when you look at total sales the Roku is still small fry. It is nothing compared to gaming consoles and DVD/Blu-ray players - which are eating some of Roku's market as they add streaming services.

With MSOs adding 'TV Anywhere' services for direct streaming to portable devices the place shifting market is *shrinking*. I've talked to people who don't see the need for a Slingbox or the like anymore because they're happy just streaming content directly from their cable MSO via an app instead of getting it from the box in their home.

Place shifting will probably become more commonplace simply because transcoders are getting cheaper and are starting to be embedded into SoCs. TiVo has indicated they expect the capabilities of the TiVo Stream to be embedded into a future model of their DVR as component costs come down, and they're not the only one. It will happen primarily for in-home streaming to 'second screen' devices, but once the HW is there it is a matter of software for WAN streaming support.

But by then will consumers care? With the explosion in direct-streaming from third parties like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, etc, not to mention HBO Go, XFINITY streaming, etc., will those non-technical consumers even consider streaming from the box back at home - or just suck it down from the cloud? And if RS-DVR takes off forget it - the content won't even be on that box at home in the first place.

So it is a niche market with an iffy future. Most of the people who do care and buy such products are the geeks and sophisticated users who understand the tech and the benefits. And those users tend to look for systems with more capabilities. That's what doomed the SlingCatcher. It was OK as a HW SlingPlayer - but that was pretty much it. Up against a market full of products that could sing and dance, and stream Netflix, it just wasn't enough. It made more sense to give up and join them instead of to compete - to write clients for those other boxes. I'd rather have a Revue with SlingPlayer than a SlingCatcher. I think SlingPlayer works just fine, and the box does so much more than just connect to a Slingbox.

The SlingCatcher never sold well, I'd bet EchoStar lost money on it given the costs of development and production, and how they ended up selling them cheap just to get rid of them. It was a market failure - that's why it was discontinued, plain and simple. Only a tiny fraction of Slingbox owners bought a SlingCatcher - I know a number of Slingbox owners and I think *one* has a SlingCatcher. And he has it because it is the unit I got while I worked for Sling Media - I gave it away because I had no desire to use it. He uses it only for a second TV in another room, within the same home. Which it wasn't too bad for, since it could do full HD on a LAN.

Since the HW in the SC was a couple of years old by the time it shipped parts cost & availability became an issue quickly. Basically EchoStar either had to discontinue the box or redesign it to use newer components. Since it was a market bomb it just didn't make sense to throw good money after bad. Instead they decided to do what I'd argued for in the first place - write clients for other platforms and leave the STB production to other vendors. I still think they need to do more - SlingPlayer for PS3, XBox, TiVo, etc.

Actually I think Sling Media, and Monsoon Multimedia, should stop treating their players as revenue sources and publish their APIs and reference code. Let everyone build clients into their products, let the app community run wild, etc. Because the more clients out there the more boxes will be sold to feed them. Drive unit sales by boosting demand by making your clients ubiquitous.

BTW, the reason newer clients don't support older Slingboxes is simple - codecs. The Slingbox SOLO and PRO-HD stream in H.264. Most modern devices have native H.264 decoders, and software, like Flash, includes native H.264 support. The earlier models of Slingbox used WMV for streaming, which has little to know HW or SW support, outside of Windows. As these connected devices have native H.264 decoding and the client is written in Air/Flash, which has native H.264 support, but neither the HW nor Flash has WMV support, that limits the models supported.

It just isn't worth the work to try to create software support for the WMV streams given the dwindling user base as older devices are retired, and the difficulty in providing an acceptable experience given the platform capabilities. And there is the business reason as well - it isn't going to sell more Slingboxes, so where is the ROI? It is a business after all.


Megazone - thanks once again for your time and the reply.

I'll start off with your comments regarding SlingPlayer for Connected Devices. When the Revue was released and then the buzz that Sling Media would release a Slingplayer App for the Revue, it seemed like that would end up being a winner - FINALLY a replacement for the SlingCatcher. Before the release it was odd (but again played into the line of thinking of the possible connection to intentional actions) that the Android Slingplayer would not work with the Revue to start. Not being an Android programmer, its hard to say the reason why but I seem to recall also that one couldn't go to the Sling site and use the player there via browser as well from the Revue. What was the reason for this? Just coincidence, some specific "real" hardware limitation or a deliberate act on the part of ??? to not allow the Revue to perform this function. When the Slingplayer for Connected Devices finally released (found on the Revue under "Spotlight") it turned out to be a huge disappointment. Now keep in mind, this is before you even start looking at any seamless integration factors which are non-existent with Slingplayer for Connected Devices (these factors are essential to duplicate that "Watch TV at home on the couch with the remote" experience)

Again, prior to testing Slingplayer for Connected Devices we thought that this will be the ticket to replacing the discontinued Slingcatcher especially since replacements were becoming increasingly harder to find for those Slingcatchers that were destroyed by the substandard power supplies or the "other" things that seemed to be happening to them. When the player for Revue hit, it was clear that this was not going to be the case. In fact it seemed to be quite a slap in the face to not only older Slingbox owners for the lack of support for their devices (and the obvious upgrade revenue grab) but it barely worked correctly and provided absolutely no seamless integration. You can see some of these gems from the testing thread: www.jlaforums........1591831

* 1st thing we noticed is the menu system stinks. There is noticeable lag while navigating and it takes forever to get around. The menu is setup badly and many functions do not seem to work as expected.

* Next is issuing remote commands such as changing channels or moving up and down on the guide. When going to the guide or using any other command - you will see a little square box with your then just issued command along with something like a radar sweep that Sling Media claims is just a visual indicator of the command being processed. To move down through each entry on the guide it can take from 4 to 15 seconds on each move and unlike the Slingcatcher, you can not issue multiple remote commands simultaneously and expect the player to carry them out. This makes doing anything but staying on one channel very painful. We spoke to Sling Media and they claim that the commands take just as long as they would do on the same Slingbox connected to Slingcatcher or Slingplayer for iOS. We can say after multiple tests this is simply not true.

* The biggest thing before we just gave up in disgust was that when switching channels the picture would freeze but you could still hear the audio. This required refreshing/rebooting the app to continue. During our 2 hours of testing, we needed to do this at least 30 times.


So you can see that from just these things (again not even going into the lack of seamless integration), Slingplayer for Connected Devices is a joke and the manager or Program Coordinator that allowed its released (along with the execs up the chain that went along with it) should be thinking about a new careers. How can Slingplayer for Connected Devices" been seen as a "kind of evolution for SlingPlayer" Mobile (something that Sling does pretty damn good) when the Connected Devices player takes about 10 steps back from the 1st Slingplayer Mobile Beta???

So now on to the Logitech Revue Google TV device and your comment about it being "odd" that "the large keyboard" is thought "to be a positive" along with question of "What is the Revue bringing to the party that specifically improves that "Watch TV at home" experience over Slingcatcher?"

I see you mentioned that you own a Revue and without making assumptions can I ask:

Hhave you hooked in a cable/satellite box to the HDMI port on your Revue then fully setup and used the Integration Function which is an integral part of the Google TV experience? If you haven't (or if you have, then maybe you already know this) you can connect The Slingcatcher and have identical seamless integration with the Revue just as you can have with your Cable or Satellite provider's box. This is what sets the Logitech Revue/Slingcatcher solution miles ahead of Slingplayer for Connected Devices or any other solution on the market today.

You are correct that the Slingcatcher alone is a pretty good option even without the Revue, but it does have its own weaknesses (as I am sure you are well aware).

If using Slingcatcher alone:

*You are forced to use the cable/satellite box "GUIDE" function remotely which can be a bit time consuming, frustrating/painful and doesn't work all that well. It was a shame that a local guide function couldn't be built into the Slingcatcher

* The Slingcatcher remote is oddly shaped and doesn't communication 100% consistently with the Slingcatcher sometime resulting in additional input attempts by the user

* Text input with the Slingcatcher remote (setting up connection to Sling Account, Static IP, Network drives, etc) is very time consuming and the menu selection system for this input was badly designed.

* A few other minor things probably not worth mentioning. Again, we are not going to discuss the "other" functionality built into Slingcatcher as it is not relevant to this issue.

But get past those things, Slingcatcher by itself does a pretty good job at coming close to passing the girlfriend test and duplicating the "Watch TV at home" experience. The biggest problem is probably the guide function issues. When you add the Logitech Revue to the "party" this is where things finally start to come together.

When you connect Slingcatcher to the HDMI IN port on the Logitech Revue, you can then go in and set it up just as you would any cable or satellite box. You'll tell Revue that you are using a Sling Media (manufacturer) Slingcatcher Device. It has most of the preset remote codes already stored. You then tell Revue the TV provider of the cable/satellite box to which your "SLINGBOX" is connected (the Slingbox that you will connect to from Slingcatcher). Revue will then provide you with a full channel listing from which you can choose all or specific channels you would like to have listed in the Revue "SEARCH" function and "TV & MOVIES" app. There are several keys on the Slingcatcher remote which are not programmed into the preset remote codes used for Slingcatcher by the Revue. No problem here - just go into custom codes and there is an intuitive menu that will allow you to setup custom key combos (like FN+H for Home Key and FN+O for Opt Key and FN+M for Mode key). Once you have done this (its quite easy that Dad from our previous example could have this all setup for Mom in to time at all) then things are ready to be as they should have been (and should be with any other current product providing similar functionality) all along.

So lets go back to our scenario from the previous post. We'll join mom who has just come in to sit down on the couch at the vacation home to watch either one of her favorite programs, maybe some news or perhaps a movie on the main 60" LCD TV in the living room. Mom sits down on the couch and presses a button the Revue Keyboard remote and the TV comes on. She from this point can do a few things like.

* She can press the TV button on the Revue Remote and she then start watching whatever channel she might have been on last time she was on.

* Or instead, she can press the HOME button and arrow right one space to the TV & Movies App. When it loads, Mom sees on the screen a well thought out interface that shows in the 1st row all of Mom's favorite channels with Movie Poster style Visual indicators of what is currently playing on those channels. She can use the arrow and ok buttons (just like on her cable/satellite remote at home) and arrow over to that show that is playing on CNN that she likes to watch. She selects it and the Revue automatically switches over to the Slingcatcher and changes the channel to CNN without further input. Mom needs to adjust the volume - no problem, her volume keys are right at the top of the Revue remote. Maybe Mom didn't see anything on her favorite channels but she is itching for some reality TV... No problem - she arrows down to the Reality TV category and once again, Mom sees the movie poster style visual indicators of all of her received channels that have reality tv programming currently on the air. Mom sees the Kardashians are playing, arrows over and presses ok. The Revue again switches over to Slingcatcher, changes the channel and Mom is happy.

* Or Mom knows she wants to watch Fox news and knows the channel number as she always uses it back home on the cable satellite remote. No problem. Mom just types it using the full size keys (not miniature) on the lightweight (and wireless - no need to be sure its pointed in the right direction) Revue keyboard remote. The Revue automatically switches over to Slingcatcher, changes the channel and Mom is happy.

* Or Mom on the way to the vacation house remembered hearing about Mad Men coming on tonight on AMC. Mom had heard alot about this show but doesn't know the channel number for AMC. No problem. Mom taps the "Search Button" and either types in "Mad Men" or "AMC" and selects whats on TV. She then sees the show she wants. If it is currently playing, she selects and Revue does the rest. If not, then Revue gives her the opportunity to schedule the program to be recorded onto her DVR back at the primary home.

So, these are a few things that Logitech Revue brings to the party that improve the "Watch TV at home" experience over the Slingcatcher just by itself. These are things that the Slingplayer for Connected Devices cannot even being to do or do in any easy way without multiple complex steps (even if it were working most of the time) that are sure to have mom on your case and chew you out for being such a cheap bum for not buying a 2nd $150.00 cable subscription. But again as was suggested, this is probably what the interested parties want. Nothing that works too well and becomes a threat to their businesses.

Regarding your comment about the quality of the stream Mom gets on her 60" TV with the Revue/Slingcatcher combo. While true its not full on 1,9201,080 HD quality - its pretty close and mom really is not going to notice much (if any) a difference over what she sees on her TV back at the primary home. I can vouch for this personally as I've used a similar configuration (current generation Sharp Aquos Quattron 60" LCD in standard mode, 240 with Logitech Revue and Slingcatcher (both using bridged Linksys WAP54G APs or SlingLink Homeplug) streaming over WAN between 2200 and 2900 Kbps. and it looks pretty damn good.

Last touching again on the keyboard. True, alot of users probably would not prefer to have something quite as large but its once again something like a trade off. Just about everyone is familiar with and can now use a keyboard The keyboard remote of the revue is pretty damn good (that is something Logitech does well) and doesn't have to be aimed, etc. The trackpad works well and the keyboard is about as small as you can make it for what it does. The small controllers with tiny buttons on the other hand can be frustrating for many users. I would have to say tradeoff between size of the keyboard remote versus functionality, etc issues found with the smaller controllers is a no brainer. But perhaps this is just a preference but I'm sure it would pass quite a few "girlfriend" tests in the end.












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