Sling Catcher Media Extender Cares About the Consumer

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On the heels of my AppleTV disappointment, I discover Sling Media’s new media extender: Sling Catcher, announced at CES.

Sling’s co-founder, Blake Krikorian, thinks the Catcher will succeed where all other “limited” media extenders have failed:

The Slingcatcher won’t be limited at all, he says, and will let you take “anything you have on your laptop, any type of media, any Web site, or Web-based video and project it wirelessly at the push of a button onto your television set. I can go to any site, any video content, any formatted content and get it to play on my big screen TV. That’s a huge difference between what we’re doing and what others are doing.”

via Engadget

Finally, somebody gets it, good job Sling Media.

Now a list of home theater geek consumers’ demands:

  • High Availability Digital Media Library: What holds more: multi-shelf book cases from Ikea or a 500 GB hard drive? When you are sitting on your couch in a lazy mood, it’s much easier to browse and click on a vid screen than have to worry if your 3 year old followed your CD alphabetizing scheme when she pulled out every case to find cute animal covers so you can find your favorite Shellac album among the lesser Shellac albums.
  • Strong Wireless Distribution: 80211 B and G wireless are adequate for music and SD video but when you need to stream HD your media extender better have great caching and 80211 A and N.
  • HD Scaler and Post Processing: Though HD been around for years the majority of media available is still in SD (or worse) resolutions and highly compressed. When the video stream hits my home theater I need it scaled to the HD resolution of my display device (say 720p) and cleaned of all the those blocky video compression artifacts. The extender must also properly recognize and convert between SD and HD color matrices (Rec 601 and 709 respectively), otherwise people’s flesh tones go a bit orange and green grass goes radioactive.
  • No Restrictions for the Intended Use (watching in home theater): The media extender should play any video and audio file in your library. I don’t want to have to worry about file formats (they’re already complicated enough). The device should treat all outputs equally, don’t punish me with a down-resed signal just because my display device doesn’t have the latest HDMI/HDCP spec.
  • Robust but Simple UI: Don’t bury my media in endless menus and directories. I want a configurable browser that fits my logic, not yours: track date modified, just watched, keep series together, or sort and browse by any other metadata the file contains.

That shouldn’t be so hard. Build a device that puts consumers in control and those same consumers just may buy it and thank you.

So, a pre-emptive “thanks” to the Sling Media crew.

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