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Slingbox Goes High Def, Adds BlackBerry App

The Slingbox PRO-HD has multiple sets of audio-video inputs and outputs and lets users watch and control different devices via an Internet connection.

Sling Media, a subsidiary of EchoStar Holding, on Friday introduced a high-definition version of its popular set-top box and a new application for BlackBerry smartphones.

Sling Media's Slingbox is a funky-looking device that beams cable or satellite television, digital video recordings, DVDs, and music to a computer or mobile device over the Internet. It also "place shifts," meaning it lets users access TV anywhere they can get an Internet connection.

The new Slingbox PRO-HD is intended for consumers who want to get the full HD experience or access to many video sources, according to Sling Media. The Slingbox PRO-HD has multiple integrated sets of audio-video inputs and outputs, including ATSC Tuner, S-video, composite video, component video, and analog or digital audio. This allows users to watch and control different devices from an Internet-connected desktop computer or laptop, as well as smartphones.

The HD version supports 16:9 wide screen aspect ratio and high-quality programmable video compression. It can also be used to stream full 1080i resolution HD video and multichannel audio to other TV sets when paired with Sling Media's SlingCatcher.

The Slingbox PRO-HD will be available in the third quarter of this year at a price of $400.

In 2006, Sling Media rolled out SlingPlayer Mobile, a version of its Slingbox software for mobile devices. But it was only supported on smartphones using the Windows Mobile, Palm OS, or Symbian S60 platforms. The software is priced at $30.

Sling Media said this week it will launch a SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry later this year.

"SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry has been a top customer request since we launched the original Slingbox Classic in 2005. Combining the best-of-breed e-mail device with the ability to watch and control your living room TV is a killer combo," said Blake Krikorian, Sling Media's co-founder, chairman, and CEO, in a statement.

Both Slingbox PRO-HD and the SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry will be previewed at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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