Almost two years ago, we wrote about how Sling Media, makers of the popular place-shifting Slingbox, was upset
at various services that let people watch TV via their computers. Of course, that's exactly what the Slingbox is intended for -- but the twist here was that the TV was hosted somewhere else. Basically, a few companies set themselves up so that you could buy a Slingbox and a TV connection, but, rather than installing it in your own home, it would be hosted elsewhere. That's useful, say, if your an American living abroad, but still want to be able to watch American television. It was difficult to see what was wrong with any of this, as it seemed to be exactly what the device was designed to do -- and everyone who was supposed to be getting paid was still getting paid. Cable or satellite TV providers got an extra customer (one who doesn't even live in their territory, so it's actually a bonus
!) and Sling sells another box.
The good news is that over those past two years, Sling (now owned by Echostar) apparently hasn't done much to stop these services. The bad news is that it's still complaining about them. Newsweek has an article that highlights how creative people have become
in figuring out ways to do more interesting things with their Slingboxes so that they can watch content remotely. This is exactly the sort of thing a smart company would encourage
. It makes the device more valuable and should help them sell more Slingboxes. So, it's too bad that a company that built such a cool and useful device is instead telling people they're not allowed to do these things with products they bought. Remember the good old days when you bought a product and actually owned it?