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Mobile Service Provider's Worst Nightmare

A captive and profitable Mobile TV revenue model was supposed to be the "next big thing" for mobile phone service providers who are already investing significantly in their 3G broadband wireless networks. Well, try to imagine their worst "walled garden by-pass" nightmare, and you essentially have the gist of this developing scenario.

Apparently, as a result of having its offering repeatedly dismissed by mobile service providers, Sling Media has decided to go it alone by launching 'SlingPlayer Mobile' direct to consumers.

Sling Media announced the release of SlingPlayer Mobile as part of a public beta program for Slingbox owners. SlingPlayer Mobile is a new software package that gives Slingbox owners the ability to watch and control their home TV from any network-enabled mobile phone or handheld computer (PDA) powered by Windows Mobile.

The SlingPlayer Mobile software is compatible with devices that run Windows Mobile Pocket PC 5.0 and 2003 Second Edition. Sling Media will also deliver a version for non-touchscreen devices based on Windows Mobile Smartphone within the next month.

A trial version of SlingPlayer Mobile is available as a free download from Sling Media's web site. Beginning April 26th, SlingPlayer Mobile will be available for $29.99 and includes a free 30-day trial. Slingbox owners who purchase and register their Slingbox prior to April 26th will receive a free license for SlingPlayer Mobile. There are no monthly or recurring charges for the use of the software.

That's right -- pay for content subscriptions (HBO, Showtime, ESPN, etc) one time, and enabled by SlingPlayer Mobile, you can now re-direct your content selections to follow you just about anywhere you will have access to a wireless connection.

"This is an exciting time for people who want a single mobile device that does more than email," said Scott Horn, general manager, Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. "While Windows Mobile enables people to stay on top of their job and connected to the people they care about, the platform also supports solutions such as SlingPlayer Mobile that give users the freedom to watch their favorite television content while on-the-go."

SlingPlayer Mobile gives consumers their entire home TV experience, including local channels, local sports teams, video on demand, pay per view, etc. Any program that you can watch on your sofa back home, you can now watch via your Windows Mobile-based device. In addition, SlingPlayer Mobile users can also control their home digital video recorder (DVR) to watch recorded shows, pause, rewind, and fast forward live TV, or even queue new recordings while on the road.

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