CES - Sling brings TV to Vista, Palm - and HP notebooks

Slingbox users will soon be able to watch their home TVs on smartphones running Palm OS, consumer laptops from HP, or any PC running Windows Vista.

Users of Sling Media's "placeshifting" system, Slingbox, will soon be able to watch their home TVs on Palm smart phones running Palm OS, consumer laptops from Hewlett-Packard or any PC running Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system.

Sling Media released a new version of its SlingPlayer software for Palm's Treo 700p smartphone at CES in Las Vegas on Monday, and announced a deal with PC maker HP to distribute the player software on HP notebook computers for consumers. Sling also announced plans for a Vista version of SlingPlayer, due for release in the second quarter.

The SlingPlayer software allows users to placeshift video sources in their home, so they can watch them anywhere there is a sufficiently fast Internet connection. SlingPlayer connects over the Internet to the user's Slingbox, plugged into their broadband Internet connection at home. The Slingbox transmits video from sources in the home, including cable, satellite or a video recorder.

The version for Vista will include a full-screen viewing mode with remote control information in a transparent overlay. It will also allow viewers to choose among feeds from multiple Slingboxes. The Palm OS version will allow users of the Palm Treo 700p to watch their home TV over wireless Internet connections.

The versions of SlingPlayer for Palm OS and Vista will join existing players for computers running Microsoft's Windows XP and Windows 2000 or Apple Computer's Mac OS X, or smartphones and pocket PCs running Windows Mobile.

There's no version of SlingPlayer yet for smartphones running Symbian's Symbian OS. That system is more prevalent in Europe, where it is used by smartphones from Nokia and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. Sling Media had planned to release a version of SlingPlayer for Symbian by the end of last year, it said at a show in London in October.

Among all the versions of SlingPlayer for different operating systems, there's even a version for no operating system. Sling Media has struck a deal with HP to install SlingPlayer on all HP QuickPlay-enabled consumer notebooks in the U.S. HP QuickPlay allows notebooks to play multimedia content without booting up the Windows operating system.

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Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
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