updated 03:20 pm EDT, Thu August 7, 2008
SlingPlayer 2.0 Beta out
Sling Media on Thursday released its long-awaited SlingPlayer 2.0, albeit under the guise of a Public Beta. The new software for Sling Media's Slingbox - a device that brings TV viewing capabilities to users' computers across a network - adds three new features, including a program guide, live video buffer and more comprehensive access to one's account via the Sling Accounts function. The beta program does not include the promised Clip+Sling function, which would let users capture and share TV clips online via Sling.com.
The reason for the delay of the full-blown software is due to Sling Media still negotiating with studio and networks on allowing the Clip+Sling feature. The new features Sling was anxious to show off, however, include a fresh visual interface that simplifies its operation, somewhat. The new programming guide lets users browse a seven-day listing of upcoming programs and select favorites, while controlling their viewing with the mouse, without the need of a remote. Canadian users of SlingPlayer 2.0 will have to make do with 'Favorite Channel' buttons instead of the programming guide.
The Live Video Buffer will allow users to rewind a live show by up to 60 minutes instead of relying on a DVR.
As the software allows viewing local TV from any computer, the third and final new revision of the beta software has to do with ease of access while away from home. The Sling Accounts function ties a user's email address (as opposed to a SlingBox Finder ID) to his account, and stores information such as passwords and program guides in one easily accessible location on the web.
The beta is currently available primarily for Windows customers based in the US but should expand to other regions and to Macs.