Today, November the 9th of 2022, we mourn the passing of one the most useful electronic devices ever sold to the public: The Slingbox.

There is a great article on arstechnica explaining the history and the convoluted ways gluttonous media tried to kill it.

 

The Slingbox was introduced at the 2005 CES by Sling Media and its founders – Blake and Jason Krikorian. They were looking to deal with money-grabbing multimedia companies. They mused why should I have to pay my cellular company for data and then pay again to MLB for the right to watch the San Francisco Giants, when it’s free in my hometown, just because I’m traveling? So, the Slingbox was born. It allows you to watch anything remotely from your cable/satellite/over-the-air broadcasts from your main TV as though you were sitting in front of it, complete with a picture-perfect, functioning working image of the remote that controls one of those devices, on your mobile device or computer. Or, if you prefer, you could hook up a camera.

At the 2005 CES, they had a tiny booth as I remember, and the device looked literally like a silver brick studded with tiny holes. In complete sincerity, due to the absolute absurdity of the amount of new products shown at the show (5000+), I wasn’t able to fully grasp the implications as I ran through over 18 miles of aisles, from booth to booth.

When I was CompUSA in early July of 2005, I saw it on an endcap and grabbed one of the last ones. Even though I knew it was a genius product, it wasn’t until I began actually using it did I really appreciate it’s full potential. It became more than just a way to watch TV that I’ve already paid for …  it became a link to home when I was out of the country for weeks at a time. I could watch live satellite broadcasts or my recorded shows. I fondly remember being in a small cafe’ in Spain and watching on my Samsung Note 8 a truly crappy hometown football team get  slaughtered (as expected) while quaffing beer and chomping on Serrano ham. The only drawback was being unable to spit loud explicatives at the lousy team and their poor coaching. Looking at it from a later perspective, now I realize that Europe is the home of soccer, and more than a few borderline psychotic fans, so perhaps they would have understood.

Regardless, I consider it one of my top five, favorite electronic devices. But again … CBS, AT&T and other piggish multimedia companies tell us we shouldn’t be able to watch what we’ve already paid for … somehow being anywhere other than our living room negates our ability to watch TV. These are the same people that have tried repeatedly to stop us from recording shows for later viewing, ’cause that’s “criminal intellectual theft” somehow.

Of course I’ll find another way to do what the Slingbox did, despite the unquenchable hunger of CBS and its ilk to rip off their consumers. But the Slingbox has left us and with it the easy way to stay in contact with life at home.

No matter how these unethical companies try to restrict, prevent, control, monetize the limiting of data, the more obvious it becomes that they’re losing.

Tech waits for no one … seems these companies have never heard of Aristotle … and paraphrasing him, more than ever, in the tech-world, nature/physics abhors a vacuum …

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