I love me a SlingBox. And so will millions of Dish Network subscribers if this works out like I hope it will. The satellite TV provider is buying the privately-held place-shifting wonders to the tune of a cool $380 million.
Of course, EchoStar is no stranger to partnering with smaller companies that make great products. About a year and a half ago they teamed up with Archos for some mobile Dish products. Nobody really noticed, but it was a good partnership.
Sling Media is one of those amazing smaller companies that managed to gain a footheld in the marketplace by making a useful and innovative product, and making it well. Sony may have come out with place-shifting media products first, but Sling’s were simpler, cheaper, and could be used on screens that weren’t proprietary LCDs (a move Sony has since been forced to follow.) Of course, the one thing Sling was missing was money and marketing muscle. Now they’ll have it. So unless things get really watered-down and corporate over in Sling headquarters, I’m hoping this will give more people an opportunity to watch their shows on the road.