Every TV maker trying to avoid total commoditization has a special trick to keep its designs unique and worth a higher price. For JVC, that trick is sound. It's launching the BlackSapphire line of LCD-based 3D TVs with the 55-inch, edge LED-lit JLE55SP4400, whose signature is an unusually powerful built-in audio system: the 45W system and 3D processing supposedly produces surround sound without having to line the living room with extra speakers. Odds are that the set won't provide much competition for dedicated speakers, although JVC is promising more integration beyond this with rare built-in SlingPlayer TV streaming, just in case there's a Slingbox in another part of the home. The all-in strategy could make the inaugural BlackSapphire more of a bargain than it looks: that $1,300 you'll pay when the screen ships this month might be all you need to start watching.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Sling Media has recently unveiled the new Slingbox 500 that delivers live streaming of your favorite TV shows, sport events, recorded programs and premium contents in Full 1080p HD-quality to smartphones, tablets, laptops and connected devices. This media streamer also features built-in Wi-Fi, integrated IR emitters for controlling a set-top box, HDMI, component and composite. The Slingbox 500 will go on sale in the U.S. on Sunday, October 14, 2012 for $299.99. [Sling Media]
It's hard to believe that the Slingbox has been around for seven years, but that only makes it harder to accept these are the first retail models that have been released since 2008. That finally changes today, though: Sling Media just introduced two new place-shifters: the Slingbox 500 and 350 (pictured). Available on October 14th for $299 and $179, respectively, these new set-top boxes replace the Solo and Pro-HD. While the 350 simply adds 1080p streaming for the same price, the 500 adds SlingProjector, a feature that lets you take photos stored on your iOS or Android device and send them to your television (video streaming will soon be supported as well). The Slingbox 500 will also soon be able to play content on USB-attached storage, but that will come in a future software update. The SlingPlayer apps get a refresh as well, adding reminders and an easier way to share your Slingbox with friends. What we set out to determine in this review -- and what you'll discover if you click through -- is how big of an upgrade this really is. Is it worth chucking your old hardware for one of these boxes? What if you're thinking of getting your first media streamer? We'll delve into all that after the break.
Gallery: Slingbox 500
Gallery: Slingbox 350 review
The company that takes almost full credit for inventing place-shifting is back in retail action with new models and new software features too. The Slingbox 350 takes the place of the older Solo at $179 and adds an integrated IR blaster and the new ability to stream 1080p HD. The $299 Slingbox 500 also does 1080p, but adds WiFi -- which really should be in both -- and an HDMI input and output for. The HDMI output does more than just pass-through too, in conjunction with the new SlingProjector feature it can render your pictures and videos (soon) on the big screen. Both can take advantage of the new SlingPlayer apps with optimizations like reminders as well as a revamp Slingbox.com web interface that makes it easier than ever to share your place-shifting joy with friends and family. These boxes go on sale in the States on October 14th with our friends to the north getting them in November. What might be interesting to all Slingbox owners is that the SlingPlayer client for various platforms is now half the price at $15. Thirsting for more info? Check out the press release after the break, or our review of both right here.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Fans of both Android and Slingbox streaming have had a long wait for a significant update to the SlingPlayer app, to put it mildly -- the last major upgrade was to introduce Kindle Fire support at the start of the year. Imagine our delight when Sling Media posts a pair of low-key but significant updates for Android phone and tablet users alike. Smartphone owners get the most out of the upgrade with a new electronic program guide, a fresher overall look and better high-quality video for any phone using Android 4.0 and beyond. Tablet users do get a more optimized interface for the Nexus 7, however, and both form factors will let avid placeshifters remind themselves when a much-anticipated show goes live in the future. Neither of the updates is a complete revolution, but we would say they're coming just in time.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
You might say Dave Zatz just had a happy accident. While he was hunting for the as yet unofficial Logitech Harmony Touch in Best Buy, he discovered the Slingbox 350 and 500 -- two more living room gadgets that have yet to receive an official introduction. The placeshifting hubs both look to be major improvements over the aging Slingbox Pro HD and Solo, making 1080p streaming available as long as the connection is up to snuff. Those who spring for the 500 should also get long overdue support for WiFi without having to use a wireless bridge, although they may miss the Pro HD's ATSC tuner. Outside of the networking, Sling Media is making expansion its upsell angle: the 500 supports USB media sharing and HDMI, while the 350 has to make do with whatever can pipe through its component and composite jacks. Zatz was unfortunately foiled in an attempt to buy one of the new Slingboxes and couldn't get final pricing, but Best Buy's suggestion to try again around mid-October hints that we won't have long to wait for a much-needed upgrade to our remote TV viewing.Permalink | | Email this | Comments