Q&A: Brian Jaquet of Sling Media Talks Up HD Slingbox

Sling Media, based in Foster City, Calif., makes various models of the Slingbox, a series of “place-shifting” devices that allow consumers to relay the content of their home TV sets directly to any remote laptop or desktop PC or Apple with a high-speed IP connection. Some Slingbox models are also used by some local broadcasters (and national content providers like NBC Weather Plus) as a cost-effective way to set up fixed monitoring of weather, traffic and emergency news sites for transmission. Brian Jaquet, Sling Media’s chief spokesman, recently talked with HD Notebook:

ND Notebook:You recently introduced a Slingbox that is compatible with HD set-top boxes. Tell us about it.

Jaquet: It’s called the Slingbox Solo and it seamlessly hooks up to one HD device, or to one SD device such as a DVR, cable box, satellite receiver, or a [standard] DVD player. The set-up is pretty simple and usually takes less than twenty-minutes, and this model incorporates an HD component, S-Video, and composite video inputs, as well as outputs, which makes it compatible with nearly every HD and SD satellite receiver and cable set-top box on the market.

And as HD formats become more mainstream, the Solo unit provides [backwards compatibility] by incorporating HD component inputs and outputs which were previously available only in our Pro model via a separate HD connect cable. It also comes with an Ethernet port and an IR blaster.

HD Notebook:You all are about to be purchased by EchoStar. How will this affect future Sling Media’s services and products, especially relating to HD?

Jaquet: The EchoStar acquisition is exciting to us on a number of different levels. As a pioneer of ‘place-shifting,’ Sling Media will continue to introduce technologies and services that allow people to watch their favorite TV and digital media no matter where they are. And as an independent subsidiary, we’ll have continued independence and greater resources to bring products to market faster and with better cost efficiencies. HD is an important platform that Sling Media will continue to support and expand upon, as consumer adoption of HD sets and set-top boxes continues to grow, and as broadband network speeds continue to increase.