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Sling Streams

Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox that lets you watch your home TV from any internet-connected computer in the world, has now become a content provider. This week they rolled out a "beta" version of their very own video-streaming site, Sling.com.

While similar to other streaming sites such as Hulu.com, the company has a unique edge over the competition since you can control your Slingbox directly from the site. The Slingbox allows users to control and watch TV from any Mac or Windows-based computer equipped with high-speed Internet access.

The Sling.com site has a clean interface that is easy to navigate. It's not necessary to create a site profile if you're popping in just want to watch TV shows, movies or clips (and that includes R-rated content). If you choose to subscribe to the site you'll receive alerts when new content is added. If you are already a Slingbox user, you can use your current e-mail address and password that is associated with your Slingbox device.

Content is free. however, you have to endure the commercials. The upside is the commercials are far shorter than those on broadcast TV.

What you gain in convenience, you loose in video quality. While far superior to the TV uploads on YouTube, its obvious that the resolution has been significantly reduced to make longer form content easier to stream. You can watch in a small browser window or in full-screen mode. However, in the full-screen mode the picture starts to look fuzzy and even pixelated depending on the resolution of the feed. Generally, if you keep the window small, video quality deficiencies are less apparent. And then, of course, audio is limited to the abilities of your computer system.

Sling.com has several content partners including CBS, a variety of comedy Web sites, CollegeHumor, 23/6, as well as Hulu.com. The site also has deals with the Associated Press and Reuters for news videos. At present, for non-Slingbox users the site doesn't offer much more content than what's available on other sites, however, the company is sure to make more partnership deals and continue to improve its catalog of video selections.

As a Slingbox user, the best part of Sling.com in its present form, is you can watch live TV from any Mac or PC with an internet connection. I am not a Slingbox user so if anyone out there has a chance to use this functionality at Sling.com. let me know how it goes.

What this signifies to me is just another indication that all our diverse media content continues to merge together as it become accessible from a variety of locations and sources. It wouldn't surprise me if Sling comes out with an iPhone app that lets you access your Slingbox and watch live TV right from a WiFi mobile device.

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