High-def Slingbox enters the market

News from Sling Media hasn't been this big in quite a while. The Slingbox Pro-HD is now available -- the company's first device that enables streaming of high-definition content.

Though the device is half a year late, the new Slingbox Pro-HD is fortunately over a hundred dollars cheaper than originally anticipated. Priced at $299.99, the Slingbox Pro-HD can be purchased directly from Sling, or at select stores throughout the country.

Select stores? As it turns out, those stores' locations are quite sparse. In Maryland, for example, there are no stores selling the device at all. Maryland residents would have to drive to either Virginia or Pennsylvania to buy a Slingbox Pro in person. Sling Media says that eventually Best Buy, Fry's, J&R, Microcenter, and more will begin carrying the device in the coming weeks.

For the Slingbox Pro-HD to work as intended, a home connection with a 1.5 Mbps or higher uplink speed is necessary. HD sources can be one of the following: over-the-air HD digital signals (ATSC), digital cable channels (Clear QAM), HDTV cable set-top boxes, HDTV satellite receivers, or HD DVRs.

Slingbox first premiered in 2005, offering the unique ability to take TV signals and "re-broadcast" it through the user's Internet connection, making home content viewable and controllable from remote locations. But while the original Slingbox Pro could accept incoming HD content, it could only stream it back out in standard definition.

In the opening weeks of 2008 at CES, the company showed off an early version of the Pro-HD, anticipating availability in the third quarter of the year for around $400.

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