I have been meaning to write about Slingbox for a while. They received nice coverage off CES. My friend Ersin has bought one and was excited about it. I just never got around to writing about it.
And today, I hear about the impressive round of financing they have pulled off, raising $46.6m from Liberty Media, Echostar and Goldman, and a lot of excitement in blogsphere. That’s a fantastic lineup. Congratulations!
What I find the most interesting about Sling is that it’s really not a threat to traditional media, but a way to bridge it to a better-connected world. You still have to pay your cable subscription, but you can now watch your favorite show while you’re staying at someone else’s ski cottage. They call it "placeshifting", similar to how TiVo is a "timeshifting" device.
Usually the placeshifting concept has meant a compromise due to changes in format. I had used the example of the NY Times printout you get at hotels. In this case, I don’t think there will be much compromise. Your content will eventually get to the same format screen that you have in your living room.
There is value in placeshifting.
UPDATE: Ryan McIntyre of Mobius Ventures has a good commentary on the deal form a VC’s perspective.