The Slingbox is a TV streaming device that enables users to remotely view their home's cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) programming from an Internet-enabled computer with a broadband Internet connection.
A Slingbox can redirect one of its inputs to a single computer located on a local network or remotely, when using a broadband Internet connection, anywhere in the world. To avoid copyright infringement, only one user can access the stream from a Slingbox at a time. This way of accessing content is known as placeshifting.
A Slingbox connects a TV source (via coaxial cable, composite cables, component cables, or S-video cable) to an existing Internet connection. Digital video recorders and cable or satellite set top boxes can be controlled through a separate infrared (IR) cable that lets users change channels from the remote location. Software on a user's computer or mobile device connects to the Slingbox and provides the user interface for viewing the video stream and changing channels. Onscreen virtual remote controls are provided for controlling almost all connected devices. Note that all control inputs are done in the SlingPlayer window via computer mouse. There is no provision for use of hardware IR remote control units while watching SlingPlayer even if the PC has an IR receiver.
The Slingbox utilizes Sling Media's proprietary SlingPlayer to display audio and video on Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh running Mac OS X, and selected mobile devices. SlingPlayer is not available for Linux, BSD or other open source systems. While old versions of SlingPlayer ran under old versions of Wine, there is presently no way to run SlingPlayer in Linux using current releases of either. The latest stable SlingPlayer version for Windows is version 18.104.22.1685. This version includes a live video buffer to pause, fast-forward, and rewind up to 60 minutes of live video, an integrated channel/program guide, and a web-based account to assist in finding and connecting to the Slingbox via the internet.
Sling Media announced a Mac OS X port of the SlingPlayer at the January 2006 Macworld Conference and Expo with a promised release date of Q2 2006. The release was later delayed to Q3 2006, and then again to Q4 2006, leading to allegations that Sling Media was promoting vaporware. In September 2006, Sling Media began selling new Slingbox hardware in packages that had the official Mac OS X logo on the outside, indicating support for the Macintosh platform even though the Mac OS X port of the player software was still not available. Sling Media released the first public beta of their player for Mac OS X on October 31, 2006. A completed version was released in early 2007. Version 1.0 works on both PowerPC and Intel Macs as long as it runs at least Mac OS X v10.3.9. Official Version Page
During the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show the company announced a future feature known as Clip+Sling that allows users to share clips of their favorite TV shows with each other through a hosted Web service. The announcement was made during Les Moonves' keynote speech.
Applian Technologies released a PC-based recording program for Slingbox in 2006 called At-Large Recorder 1.0. Following that event, Sling Media added an encrypted protocol to the communication between SlingPlayer and Slingbox, rendering At-Large Recorder 1.0 useless with newer firmware. In October 2007, Applian Technologies released At-Large Recorder 2, which is once again able to capture and record Slingbox streams on a Windows PC. At-Large Recorder 2 includes a circular recording feature for use in continuously capturing feeds from security cameras or media monitoring.
mReplay provides no-cost rich internet applications that allow Slingbox users to watch, control, record, edit and share the content of their Slingbox all in Internet Explorer or Firefox without traditional software installation called mReplay Live. There is also a mobile version available for Windows Mobile phones for free called mReplay Mobi.
The announcement of the iPhone application touched off a controversy among owners of older Slingboxes as Sling Media has announced that only the Slingbox Solo, Pro and ProHD models will be supported by the iPhone client (older Slingbox models Classic, Tuner and AV are unofficially supported, although they do appear to work with the application nonetheless). Owners of these models have been offered a $50 discount, although they in turn have pointed out that this does not bring the price down to even what Amazon currently sells Slingboxes for.
Sling Media themselves have not currently offered any public explanation for the cutoff, although one possibility may be related to the DSP in newer models being programmable at runtime to deliver an H.264 stream (the iPhone's preferred format) while older boxes may only be able to deliver a WMV-encoded stream. Other communications from Sling refer to the need to upgrade to be ready for "new features" not yet disclosed.
On May 12, 2009, the SlingPlayer App became available at the Apple App Store, but only for US, Canadian and UK accounts. It sells for $29.99 and will only use wi-fi to stream content.  Sling's promotional email confirmed that the SlingPlayer for iPhone works with wi-fi connections only "At Apple's request" - a decision believed to have been made at the behest of incumbent iPhone network operators such as AT&T and O2.
On February 4th, 2010, the SlingPlayer App gained the ability to stream content on AT&T's 3G Network. This change was done 100% by AT&T as the SlingPlayer App already features quality scaling of content based on connection type. 
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Sling Media announced a SlingPlayer for Android to be released in the summer of 2010. 
In January of 2007, Sling Media announced the launch of the SlingCatcher, a hardware device similar to a set top box, which would enable users to watch their television remotely, without the need for a computer. The SlingCatcher will purportedly ship with a hardware remote control to take the place of the on-screen remote and thus give a more true-to-life television experience.
The SlingCatcher was scheduled for release by the end of Q2 2007. One year later, information about the device could still be found on the Sling Media website and occasional snippets of information referencing it appear in industry magazines, but the absence of a release date led to accusations of the product being vaporware.
In early September, 2008, Sling Media announced that the SlingCatcher would be available for an October 2nd, 2008 release date (since revised to "Early October".) Several websites offer the SlingCatcher for pre-order.
The SlingCatcher became commercially available in October 2008, to mixed reviews.
The SlingBox has found an unexpected niche in television broadcasting. Broadcast engineers at several TV stations have installed them at remote "towercam" locations to observe traffic and weather conditions. KPIX-TV in San Francisco has several connected with wireless networking, using EV-DO via a cellular network (mobile phone) provider. This costs only a few hundred dollars for each site, versus well over ten thousand for a setup with a remote pickup unit and auxiliary broadcast licenses. However, the system is not yet reliable or broadband enough to handle live remote broadcasts. Cable TV providers are also using it to provide proof of performance for companies that run TV ads on their systems.