Belkin Tees Up Slingbox Rival$150 Device Slated to Ship in Mid-July 6/22/2012 2:03 PM Eastern
Consumer-electronics manufacturer Belkin is planning bring out a direct competitor to EchoStar's Slingbox, with a $150 device dubbed @TV plus that delivers live or recorded TV to PCs, smartphones and tablets over the Internet or in-home Wi-Fi.
The @TV plus device will be available in mid-July at Belkin.com and other online and in-store retailers in the U.S. The company expects to release @TV apps in Apple's iTunes App Store and the Google Play Android apps market in early July. The @TV app is free for tablets and $12.99 for smartphones.
"Americans have long had a love affair with TV, and now they are increasingly demanding the ability to access their TV content wherever and whenever they want," Belkin senior director of product management Jamie Elgie said in a statement. "It's no longer enough to record content to watch later."
EchoStar's Sling Media division sells two models of Slingbox: the $180 Solo model, with a single SD or HD video input; and the $300 Slingbox PRO-HD, with three video inputs.
The Belkin @TV device can connect and control multiple sources, such as a digital cable box, satellite receiver or DVD player, using an infrared "blaster" attachment.
It also has Wi-Fi built in -- whereas Slingbox devices require a third-party router for Wi-Fi -- and can record live TV directly to a mobile device for viewing when not connected to Wi-Fi or a data network, according to the company. Belkin's @TV supports composite and component video inputs and analog stereo, but not HDMI.