EchoStar buys Sling Media for $380 million
by Brad Linder, posted Sep 25th 2007 1:15AM
EchoStar Communications, the company behind the Dish Network satellite service has agreed to buy Sling Media for $380 million. Sling Media is the maker of the popular Slingbox place-shifting device.
Over the past few years, the Slingbox has become synonymous with place-shifting, much the way some people refer to generic PVRs as TiVos. The difference is that Sling Media doesn't face much serious competition yet. While Monsoon Multimedia, Sony, and Orb do make products that compete with the Slingbox in one way or another, place-shifting isn't built into generic set-top-boxes from Motorola or Scientific Atlanta yet.
By acquiring Slingbox, EchoStar is in an excellent position to be an early player in the place-shifting game. The company can continue to sell standalone Slingboxes to non-satellite customers. And EchoStar can integrate Sling technology into its existing products, putting the company far ahead of the competition when it comes to place-shifting.
EchoStar was among the earliest investors in Sling Media, which was founded 3 years ago. What does this mean for future Sling products? It's hard to say, but we're pretty sure EchoStar can pump an awful lot of money into research and development. And it's not like Sling Media was resting on its laurels. The company has put out a number of updates to its original place-shifting Slingbox line, and has a new SlingCatcher device that will bring internet video to your TV set scheduled for release soon.