A New BlackBerry Experience Goes Beta: SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry

slingmedialogoSince its first launch in early 1996 I have been a follower of SlingMedia’s SlingBox hardware and companion SlingPlayer software. At that time it allowed me to take advantage of Canadian networks’ extensive coverage of the Turin Winter Olympics while working on a project in southern California. For instance, I was able to watch the Women’s Hockey gold medal game on CBC at a Starbucks in Palm Springs.

Their initial SlingPlayer only worked on Windows-based PC’s. With today’s public beta launch of SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry, I can now access my cable TV subscription on a BlackBerry from any location worldwide where it has high speed Internet access.

Since that first experience SlingBox users can now view their favorite TV channels using SlingPlayers for Mac, Symbian (Nokia N-Series phones) and Windows Mobile. A complete SlingBox hardware product line has since evolved providing a performance-based product line across a range of prices. (There are no ongong subscription charges for use of a SlingBox.) The recently launched SlingBox Pro HD provides transmission of HD programming across home networks and, where upload speed specs are met, across the Internet.

Over the past 15 months I have been a regular user of SlingPlayer Mobile for Symbian on a Nokia N95 smartphone, mostly to follow sports events and news. First announced last January at CES 2008, SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry has finally reached a point where SlingMedia is looking for user feedback. It not only required development work at SlingMedia; it also required RIM’s development of BlackBerry firmware capable of the video and audio signal processing required for this service.

SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry is available for users with a home cable TV subscription in the U.S., Canada or U.K. Basic requirements include:

  • any model of SlingBox attached to a cable TV set top box
  • a high speed broadband Internet service (cable or DSL) for remote viewing anywhere on the Internet worldwide
  • a WiFi-enabled BlackBerry: Bold 9000,8900 Curve, Pearl 8220 Flip or, provided they have the OS 4.5 firmware upgrade, the Pearl 8120, Curve 8320 or 8820. It also supports 3G HSDPA connections on the Bold.
  • SlingPlayer 2.0 running on a Windows-based PC to set up remote viewing and the user’s selection of  “Favorites” channels.

If you meet these requirements, the beta software can be installed  onto your BlackBerry over the air (3G or WiFi) via the browser at http://mobile.slingmedia.com. Sling Media wants your feedback.

Early this morning, while 300 miles away from my home, I was able to install the player on my BlackBerry Bold over a WiFi connection and view programming available on my Toronto-based cable services. My initial impression: it demonstrates the full potential of the BlackBerry Bold’s widely acclaimed display as well as its inherent stereo audio. My testing will involve  viewing live sports action and various music programming that can challenge its ability to provide an experience that makes the programming transparent to the technology.

Will SlingPlayer Mobile become a new way for road warriors to watch the Super Bowl, March Madness or business channels while on-the-go?