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DIRECTV and Slingbox embrace Microsoft’s Media Center

DIRECTV has announced DIRECTV2Go, a new service for portable media players. Using the Microsoft Portable Media Center, it will allow subscribers to transfer programming content from their DirecTV Plus DVR to a wide variety of non-Apple portable media players.

DIRECTV will also provide customers with top programs from NBC and the cable networks — USA, SCI FI and Bravo — within hours after they air, commercial free, for 99 cents each.

Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox, will offer an upgrade to its existing hardware that allows consumers to use a wide range of mobile devices to watch home television programming anywhere. The current Slingbox allows remote TV viewing on computers over a broadband connection.

The new mobile client works with any device that uses Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Platform versions 4.0 or 5.0. A visual version of a remote control pops up on the screen allowing the user to choose whether to watch television live from their home cable set-top box, satellite receiver, or a program previously recorded on a DVR.

In related news, DIRECTV will launch a new service this year, in tandem with its DVR service, that will allow subscribers to watch TV programs from FOX before they appear on TV. It’s the first such service of its kind and signals a change in network TV strategy to keep its content exclusive to affiliated stations.

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