Current SlingBox Owners Getting Shafted by iPhone SlingPlayer?

As it stands, many of you have been craving some Slingplayer action on your iPhones. Well the good news is you are about to get it, the bad news is you may be paying more than you originally thought.

Engadget has posted that folks with older Slingboxes must upgrade to newer hardware in order to be able to stream content to your iPhone. And to make matters worse, this upgrade is technically not needed! Yup, the good people at Sling have decided that for everyone who wants to use Slingplayer Mobile on their iPhone, you can dish out some extra cash on some fresh hardware at home as well.

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blockquote>the company just posted up a page saying that owners of every older SlingBox save the Slingbox PRO will have to upgrade to a Slingbox SOLO or Slingbox PRO-HD in order to stream to iPhones. Yes, this is totally ridiculous: we've been told that the limitation is purely money-driven and that previous builds of the iPhone client worked just fine with older Sling hardware

Ouch, there you go, the only reason you may have to upgrade is pure corporate greed. This is surely a shot below the belt to current owners of older Slingboxes. So what do you say, will this prevent you from using Slingplayer Mobile on your iPhones or is it time for you to upgrade? We are curious...

[Via Engadget]

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Current SlingBox Owners Getting Shafted by iPhone SlingPlayer?

56 Comments

this will absolutely prevent me from getting the slingplayer for the iphone. I was ready to shell out the $30 for the app but now that i have to pay an extra $120+ to get new hardware its not worth it. Ill just pay $10 for OrbLive and watch the content stored on my home media server.
I must say i am VERY disappointed in Sling with this move. I was a beta tester for the slingbox and have absolutely loved the service since day one but this move makes no sense.
the only upside to sling was for live tv as i have tons of content store on a media server at home and with sites like hulu i rarely watch live tv at all anymore (the only thing i watch live is sports) so i think i am just gonna ride my slingbox classic till it dies and bid farewell to slingmedia.
the founders of the company were great and provided excellent support and a great product. I have not been impressed with the moves since it was sold to echostar. there have been almost no improvements to the functionality and no exciting features added.

I have a Slingbox Pro, so this doesn't affect me, but I have to say this is BS. I don't know how Sling can truly justify this...just shameful.

Don't have a Sling box yet and my not pick one up now. Looks like Sling needs some real competition.
@Al You hope they don't "Jew" you? WTF does that even mean?

With web streaming (NCAA live hoops) and DTV remote record, the Sling is no longer needed. I haven't used mine in over a year.

This is totally BS. I'm not going to go out in current economy and replace my two working slingboxes with new ones just to watch it on my phone. Screw them.
They could make just as much selling the slingplayer. I purchased the player when I had my Treo. It's greed and it will backfire on them.

Al, you're a jerk! Enough said on the Anti Semitic remark.
I hope they rescind this decision as it's going to be very unpopular with the vast majority of their clients. I have two of the older Slingbox pro models with the HD cables. I'm unclear whether they're acceptable or not. The new one if I recall has the HD built in. Anyway, we will find out soon enough.

I've been waiting for the app to get approved before I buy the Slingbox Solo. Really glad I waited, but what douche bag move to screw over all the people that supported your company in the begining.

I just sent this to Jay Tannenbaum at Slingmedia
Almost $200 for a new slingbox (which would be my third one) and the App..Echostar should be ashamed of themselves. I think you guys may have shot yourselves in the foot on this one. The existing player plays on much less powerful devices than the iPhone and your coupon gets the Solo down to "street" prices.
The App that I once was waiting for with baded breath ..now I'll probably pass

Bad move sling! Hope this doesn't sway me into picking up a pre to use with my slingbox av!

I'm not sure what version of slingbox I have, but I think I don't have the older one...
Nonetheless, this is pure pricing strategy. Unfortunately, I think the bad press/angry customers will cost them more than they'll get with this move.

I have a Slingbox A/V and I was looking forward to the app, but I vehemently refuse to make an unnecessary hardware purchase. All I can do is hope that the iPhone app does not sell well to prove our point. Sign me up for a petition.

Al, I hope a Jew punches you in the face. I can make that happen if you swing by Chicago. Regarding the move on Sling, this is ridiculous. If anything, us early-adopters of the slingbox should be rewarded. We bought into the game when they were just starting out. Way to appreciate your old fans. D-bags.

Dear SlingMedia,
I am very disappointed on the recent news that the soon to released Slimgbox iPhone app will not work with older Slingboxes on the bases of insisting established customers purchase new hardware. I have two original Slingboxes and like everyone else here have been waiting for
the Slingbox app.
I would like you to reconsider this decision and make the older Slingbox hardware compatible. If your decision stands, I will no longer promote your devices or purchase any in the future. Secondly, if you do not change this decision for the aforementioned reasons, I suggest you change your company'a name to Slime Media.

hahaha, Fender Doc, NICE. Everyone should copy/paste this:
"Dear SlingMedia,
I am very disappointed on the recent news that the soon to released Slimgbox iPhone app will not work with older Slingboxes on the bases of insisting established customers purchase new hardware. I have two original Slingboxes and like everyone else here have been waiting for the Slingbox app.
I would like you to reconsider this decision and make the older Slingbox hardware compatible. If your decision stands, I will no longer promote your devices or purchase any in the future. Secondly, if you do not change this decision for the aforementioned reasons, I suggest you change your company’a name to Slime Media.
Thank you"
and send to THIS person:jtannenbaum@slingmedia.com

Well... It's been over a week since Sling allegedly submitted the app to Apple, which is unusually long. What if the original app got kicked back by Apple for taking up too much bandwidth, mandating the H.264 codec be used. This would explain why the beta version of the iPhone app worked with all models. Once Slingmedia found out about the app being denied, they put this upgrade program out there since they new many people would pissed off about being forced to upgrade.
This is just a theory. As a Slingbox AV user, I'm just as mad as everyone else... and I won't be spending my hard earned money to upgrade hardware. But what if this was truly out of Slingmedia's control? Other sites are reporting that the reason for the required newer hardware is the H.264 codec being used versus the WMV codec on older Slingboxes... so that would make sense. And since the app isn't out on the App Store yet, wouldn't Slingmedia be forbidden to talk about it (and explain the reasons behind the upgrade program) thanks to Apple's non-disclosure agreement?
Again, just a theroy...

I checked and I found that my Slingbox Pro is supposedly covered, however I'm adamant that they should still rescind this decision. I might add that the iPhone application is over priced if it sells for more than $20.00. From what I've read, the iPhone app will be selling for $40.00! It appears they're reaming Sling customers on all fronts.

I've been checking the app store twice a day for the past week for the slingbox iphone app. Then yesterday I saw at slingmedia.com that they were going to require the new hardware. Screw 'em. And their "discounted upgrade program" is a joke -- $50 off their list prices just brings the prices in line with street prices. Orb will continue to be just fine with me.

Perfectly prepared to spend some money purchasing the app for my iPhone however there is no way I'm forking out for a new slingbox! completely ridiculous!

I have the classic and was so looking forward to using slingplayer on my ipod touch. There is no way I will upgrade the hardware. I guess I will have to continue to use ORB. I hope people will NOT purchase the application. In fact, I hope we can submit reviews on the itunes store sharing are customer experience.

Well, I will be paying for it, they going to make alot of money even if the people with old sling do not upgrade, oh well upgrades are upgrades

Mike,
I used a bit of your letter and modded it for my situation:
Dear Mr Tannenbaum,
I am emailing you this afternoon to voice my disappointment in Slingmedia's decision to make the iPhone app incompatible with older Slinboxes based solely on the greed of the company wanting people to purchase new hardware. We know the player works fine with older Slingboxes as it has been working with jailbroken iPhones for a while now.
I have been a loyal slingmedia customer and own a Slingbox A/V which I have used with several Windows Mobile devices including the most recent powerful, HTC Touch Diamond with VGA screen. As a recent convert to the iPhone platform, Slingplayer for the iPhone was one of the "must have" applications that I wanted to have moving from Windows Mobile to the iPhone. However, since this requirement of having to purchase new hardware just to play on the iPhone, it looks as though I will no longer be able to support the company.
I have always been a staunch supporter of the product and have encouraged several friends and family members to get one for themselves.
With the growing number of alternatives out there to the Slingbox it strikes me as a very odd move that Slingmedia would alienate users who still have older boxes by making them purchase new hardware for no good reason. I was eagerly awaiting the iPhone app and was expecting to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 for the app. However if it will not be supporting the older Slingbox A/V will not be purchasing the app and will no longer be supporting the company or its products.
Although I am not an engineer, I am wondering why a firmware update (even if charged a reasonable amount) would not suffice in providing at least some form of basic functionality to the iPhone. Even though I have HD television, I don't need to transfer that to my mobile device and all I require is to be able to watch and control my DVR player as I have done with the various Windows Mobile devices I have had in the past.
I hope the company decides to reverse its position on this matter and support the older customers who have stuck by and promoted the product for the last few years. If not I can assure that, judging by the comments being posted on numerous forums and blogs online, I will not be the only one who stops using and promoting your product.
Thank you and good day.

Come on people what do you expect, it is what it is. In this day and age what do u ever buy that is not obsolete in a matter of couple years or even months. That goes for hardware, software, electronics or whatever. Company's are not here for just your convenience they are here to make money, period. This case might not even be that. Plain and simple they may have had to do this just to make the app functional.

This is the same as apple coming out with new features in OS 3.0 that will only work on a second generation iphone, like MMS. It gets people to buy new hardware.

@David,
Bull. I don't accept that and it seems that many don't accept it either, especially in the economy the way it is. I call this bull because my slingplayer streams video from my TV to a mobile device. It has been able to do that for devices even more powerful than the iPhone. Hmmm...how come a firmware update couldn't be offered or even better, how about a limited subset of functionality be offered that allow older units to stream as is like they do to my mobile devices. If the iPhone requires a different protocol than then the software deal with it.

Count me in the group of people who would have bought the app, but won't if it requires purchasing new hardware.

Not trying to piss anyone off with this, but there just may be another prespective going on here that people dont realize is all. You may have Apple to blame for this, you dont really know for sure. A lower subset of functionality, why would sling want to do that and bring down what will be a great app. for other users and future users.

@David,
Sling wouldn't have to. Just like the 3.0 Apple update, if your device doesn't have the hardware it won't take advantage of certain "features", if it does then you get the full "enriched" experience.

Maybe how this is how they intend to keep from overloading ATT's 3G network -- by keeping most slingbox owners from being able to use the app!

Of course you could be absolutely right, but we will probably never really know. I just think if this was sling's intention we would have heard this before it released it to apple. This is what makes me think this could be a possibility also, that this is apple's doing. No one is makeing sling give a $50.00 credit to people who need to upgrade either. They could easily just take on new customers and not do anything at all for previous owners.

I've already paid twice for their mobile app on other OSs. I would've gladly spent some money for the iPhone version too... BUT not if it requires a new slingbox.
Isn't making money off of the app enough?

I went to the website and I sent Sling a nasty-gram. I suggested they look at the blogs (like this one) and see the feedback. I told them how come iPhone users are penalized while other mobile phones didn't have to get a hardware upgrade.
I'll let you all know if I get a response back from Sling.

I agree with David's posts before for a couple reasons.
1) We don't know why they will not allow the old ones to work with the new iphone ap. People are speculating without all the information (so typical of americans) and the mob mentality jumps on the bandwagon, "corporate greed" etc..
2) When you all (and I) bought the initial slingbox, we were never promised anything more than what we got. We spend $200+ to be able to watch tv on computers and i would have spent twice that, but that doesn't mean i should automatically be entitled to something more years later (such as the ability to watch on an iphone, the iphone didnt even exist when i bought mine)
3)If people cannot profit on innovation then people wont spend money and time to innovate. It is as simple as that.
All this nonwithstanding - it may prove to be a bad decision by sling media, simply because people may opt to turn to a competitor. I'm not arguing that this is good marketing etc. (especially if they are banning the old slingboxes for no good reason) and ruining customer loyalty - im just pointing out that we still do not know the all the facts and that we all shouldnt be out in arms about having to pay for additional services.
Now, someone feel free to explain to me how capitalism is dead.

While I'm not sure, I am an electrical engineer and I design Gigabit routers and switches for a living so I know a little something about bandwidth and video compression. I've looked over a number of the responses, and while I agree that it's totally too bad that the Sling folks will be requiring a new slingbox (mine is a solo and only 2 months old), I also highly suspect that this really could be fixed with a firmware upgrade.
Also, I offer a bit of speculation: It is highly probable that the newer sling boxes are more efficient from a bandwidth perspective than the older boxes. If part of the "deal" with Apple is to reduce this bandwith as much as possible, this could have been a good reason to limit the app to the newer more efficient devices.
Finally, the new iPhone3GZ to come out in June09 is said to now have double the 3G bandwidth possible. While this won't help AT&T, if I were the phone company mother-ship, I would start forking money into infrastructure as much as possible. This video thing is on it's way and no power on earth will stop it. The new switch/hub architectures are all about QOS and management which will help this along. Get with it AT&T. The new bandwidth will not be free, but won't cost as much as they want us to think.

C'mon you don't think that someone will hack this app and make it work with the old Slingboxes?
I agree it is total BS and this may or may not be a cash grab.
A reason why they could be doing this is they know full well someone will crack the app or create a substitute. Then there goes the revenue from the app. "No Problem" says the SlingMedia Exec! "We just ding the customer by making them buy new hardware!". That's when old man corporate wrings his wrinkly old hands and twirls his mustache and comments ala Mr Burns..."eeeeeeexcellent....".
Look if it can work over a network connection to a PC it can work over an iphone, stop kidding yourselves with techno babble (compression, protocols, blah blah). Orb worked on my 1st gen Ipod Touch, so did the NCAA March Madness games. They can make it work if they really wanted too but they wouldn't make cash after the app was hacked pure and simple...OUT...

I've written Sling Media about the seemingly unnecessary hardware upgrade which, of course, only impacts existing Sling Media customers. I had asked that they better explain the reason for the upgrade since we've all seen beta versions of the iPhone Slingplayer demonstrated on existing Slingboxes since 2007. After all, the upgrade could be legitimate. The response was basically "Don't upgrade if you don't want to, but you can't use the iPhone App or any other new functionality we might provide in the future." I have found the reason that people won't provide an explanation is that there isn't one that anyone wants to hear. I really wanted this iPhone App, but not for $200, and not by replacing an existing Slingbox that works just fine.

The Gall.
I own 3 Slingbox classics and an iPod Touch.
Now they're telling me that my Slingbox Classics won't work with the iPod Touch (iPhone Mobile)?
I officially think SLING sucks now.
I loved this company.
I ranted to everyone about them.
I beta tested for them.
And now, my boxes, in three different places in the world won't work on the iPhone platform?
They should seriously re-think that.
You want me to buy 3 more boxes?
You greedy idiots. Bad marketing strategy. Bad loyalty strategy.
Not supporting the people that supported you and made you who and what you are.
You've fallen off your pedestal in my view SLING Media.
And I WILL spread that word to all!
If you continue that policy, you should offer completely free upgrades to users like me.
I repeat, I bought three of them.
You b**tards.
Unimpressed and now undevoted and NO, I will not buy the Sling App for iPhone/iPod Touch that I was waiting for and I hope Apple doesn't let them sell it in the App store (it would serve them right).
It's bad enough they wanted $30 for it. Though they may have had that from me. Now they'll get nothing. I hope the company goes the way of GM, and fast.

A real shame indeed, Sling was such a great customer-focussed company before....It still makes
great products and the iPhone app looks stunning but this latest decision by their new owners stinks :(
I've seen so many people getting annoyed about this decision in various forums...especially the slingbox community forum. I along with many others have written to sling too and none of us have received even the courtesy of a reply.
Really all....the only way you can effectively show your disappointment is by not buying the app once it hits the store....Sling know that there is so much pent up demand for this App, but if after all that development it doesn't sell and hit the top of the App charts then they'll know somethings up.
Now there will always be those who are willing to take any rubbish from a company just to get the latest stuff....and they will even overlook this truly awful customer service, upgrade at great expense and buy the app...I see the attraction but maybe they could wait a couple of weeks before they buy the app just to show some kind off annoyance! leave duff feedback for the bad service not the App...the App looks great!
lets hope sling get the message and get back to being the great company they once were.

Of course, none of this will matter if Apple doesn't approve the iPhone Slingplayer App. It was supposedly submitted to Apple at least two weeks ago. The approval delay, plus AT&T's now retracted new restrictive TOS, and Sling Media's apparent attempt at self destruction by corporate greed lead to the conclusion that more may be going on than meets the eye.

I own a Slingbox AV and as soon as I heard about needing an upgrade for the iPhone I bought the Slingbox Pro HD. And I am very glad that I did. The Slingbox Pro HD provides much, much better picture than the Slinbox AV did. Plus, I am getting much higher and more consistent transfer rates.
If you can spring for the HD then I would definitely recommend it!

I guess I'll just keep using my trusty old Treo. It works with my trusty old Slingbox AV. I was looking forward to upgrading to the iPhone once Sling and Dataviz ported their apps, but I'm not upgrading my other h/w too.

I am a customer of Sling box. I have an older Sling box and subscription to sling player mobile. I hate to say it, but the greed by Sling box to gorse their loyal custmers to spend extra money to have the ability to get Sling box on their iPhone, Not a good practice! $30.00 to get the Sling player mobile for iPhone, in a heart beat. Spend an extra $140.00 for no good reason, never... On Principal. During this economical crisis, karma.

I have an original Slingbox tuner..........didn't read the fine print,so i bought the app for my iPhone.
Sling Box support was no help.........less than friendly customer service people in Costa Rica,with the"we don't support the "tuner"- iPhone app!
When asked to enter a channel I can get local channels 1 through 11 by entering 4 in setup..........any suggestions on if I should enter different channels in setup to get more channels?.........I agree with most of the comments,this company sucks forcing you to upgrade.
Will never by another SlingBox product!

Why did I just find this out? When I heard you couldn't use the app on 3G I refused to buy it. Now that it is about to be available with 3G I wanted to buy it but just realized my SlingBox isn't compatible.
This is crap.

Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this article i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant article.